Madingley Hall

Sustainable Food Policy


Sustainable Food Policy

November 2014


The Institute of Continuing Education at Madingley Hall recognises its responsibility to provide healthy and sustainable food to our staff, students, customers and visitors.  We will work with our suppliers to incorporate environmental, ethical and social considerations into the products and services provided. We recognise that it is our responsibility to encourage our suppliers to minimise negative animal welfare, environmental and social effects associated with the products and services they provide.

We aim to:

·      Promote the health and well-being of our staff and students.

·      Increase sustainable food offerings in the dining hall, bar and conference/event menus.

·      Give preference to products and services that are manufactured, and can be used and disposed of, in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

·      Ensure animal welfare is on the agenda when procuring eggs, meat and dairy produce

·      Communicate to our customers, staff and suppliers our commitment to serving sustainable food.

·      Carry out sufficient monitoring of our sustainability targets and review our objectives annually.

·      Support Fairtrade initiatives.

·      Support the Sustainable Food Cities campaign.

·      Address rising food costs by looking at ways to use alternative (sustainable) food products.


To allow us to meet our aims we will:


  • Set sustainability objectives and targets and measure our performance against these annually (see Appendix A).
  • Work with our suppliers to progress the sustainability agenda across the entire operation.
  • Enhance customer, staff and contractor awareness of relevant environmental and social effects of a sustainable diet via promotional guidance, product information and awareness campaigns.
  • Work with third party organizations such as Compassion in World Farming (Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards); Sustain (Good Food on the Public Plate and Sustainable Food City); and the Soil Association (Food for Life).
  • Continually monitor and review this Sustainable Food Policy annually, amend targets and communicate findings (including progress and gaps) to our customers.


We will apply this food policy to all menus within the Institute where applicable. We will ensure this policy is displayed and advertised throughout the operation.


We commit to:


  • Offer seasonal produce where possible and monitor the use of non-seasonal produce.  Communicate clearly when seasonal produce is being served.
  • Use free range eggs, and increase the use of organic and free-range products where possible.
  • Support environmentally friendly farming, food/drink production and transportation. Communicate clearly what menu offerings are available and work towards increasing menu range where appropriate.
  • Use demonstrably sustainable fish wherever possible. If this is not possible for certain species, then alternative menu items will be sought.
  • Use meat and dairy that is produced according to high animal welfare standards. Aim to serve less meat and dairy products and focus on fresh seasonal produce, ensuring all meat and dairy served is sustainably sourced.
  • Promote healthier eating habits and encourage the provision of healthier menus.
  • Use as much Fairtrade as possible where non-seasonal food or imported products are used. 
  • Using Suppliers from the local area to reduce our food miles and support local business




1)  Communication and Customer Engagement

a.    Increase awareness of the Sustainable Food Policy through newsletters, Environmental Champions, websites and intranets, and other University publications.

b.    Highlight sustainable food offerings in the dining hall, bar and hospitality menus to increase awareness and sales.

c.    Participate in University wide Campaigns and other events by promoting healthy and sustainable food.

d.   Participate in Cambridge’s bid to become a Sustainable Food City

e.    Aim to win sustainable food awards where possible (e.g. Sustainable Restaurants Association, Good Egg Awards, Good Food on the Public Plate, Compassion in World Farming’s Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards).


2)  Healthy menus

a.    Strive for healthier menus by using less fat, salt and sugar and more fresh fruits and vegetables, and by offering smaller portions.

b.    Run regular healthy food campaigns to encourage healthier food choices (such as the Public Health Responsibility Deal and Low Carbon Meal campaigns).

c.    Encourage the selection of vegetarian offers and provide more vegan options.

d.   Increase the amount of protein served which is from non-animal sources. Financial savings achieved from reducing the amount and proportion of red and processed meats served will be invested in higher quality livestock products (in terms of environmental and welfare quality) across the rest of the menu.


3)  Fairtrade

a.    Expand the range of Fairtrade food and non-food products used and sold where possible.

b.    Promote Fair-trade products in outlets where sold.

c.    Participate in Fair-trade Fortnight and other Fair-trade events.


4)  Eggs & Dairy products

a.    Continue to use only free-range eggs.

We will ensure that, on an ongoing basis, all whole eggs purchased are from a free-range production system and any products purchased containing egg state that the eggs are from a free-range production system.


5)  Fruit and Vegetables

a.    Promote seasonal fruit and vegetables to customers.

b.    Increase the sales of food from plant origin as an alternative to meat and dairy, focusing on health, wellbeing and the reduced impact to the environment.

c.    Actively promote the sustainability and health value of increasing vegetarian meals within the weekly diet.


6)  Fish

a.    Obtain the MSC Chain of Custody certification.

b.    Continue to avoid using fish from the MCS fish-to-avoid list, maximize the use of fish on the MCS fish-to-eat list, and aim to serve only MSC-certified fish.

c.    Investigate the capture method and species of tinned fish used.  Look to purchase more sustainable alternatives if relevant.


7)  Meat

a.    Increase the range of animal products from certified higher welfare standards (such as Red Tractor, organic, RSPCA Freedom Food certified, free range or equivalent). This is particularly relevant for chicken and pig meat while respecting religious requirements of customers.

b.    Investigate ways of increasing higher welfare meat through cost neutral methods such as portion size and looking for value cuts.

c.    Attain further Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards from Compassion in World Farming.


8)  Disposables

a.    Reduce the amount of disposables used on an annual basis.

b.    Consider selling reusable containers to reduce the amount of disposable containers used by customers.


9)  Waste

a.    Monitor food waste and record amounts being collected.

b.   Aim to achieve a significant reduction in  landfill waste in the catering operation.

c.   Work with the local council to ensure waste and recycling streams are properly communicated within the catering outlets.

d.    Investigate ways to reduce leftover food in hospitality catering.


10)     Reduce energy use

a.    Conduct energy audits in catering areas to identify ways to reduce consumption