Soil Association and Organic Centre Wales launch two events for caterers in Wales
The events will include practical advice on how to take a step-by-step approach to using fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients, and will see Catering Mark pioneers in Wales discuss how the Catering Mark can reassure consumers about the food they are eating. The days will end with a networking session over a Gold Catering Mark lunch.
The Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark raises the bar for sustainable food provision within the catering industry, encouraging caterers to use environmentally-friendly ingredients to make fresh food from scratch. The Catering Mark scheme recognises those pioneering caterers who are driving this change by meeting standards modelled around sustainable procurement, animal welfare and fresh food, and offers caterers support to help them to meet these standards.
The scheme is growing strongly and is the UK's fastest developing best practice scheme. More and more Welsh companies are choosing to demonstrate their ethical credentials by achieving the Catering Mark, with over 12,000 Catering Mark meals currently served in Wales each day.
Speaking about the events, Jane Powell of Organic Centre Wales said: We are delighted to be supporting the continued development of the Catering Mark within Wales, an initiative not only working towards good food for all, but one that supports the hard working, Welsh organic sector.
Wales has a long standing reputation for great food, and by more organisations becoming part of the Catering Mark scheme, it will provide a healthy market for local, sustainable and better welfare food. We feel initiatives such as this and the organic sector is pivotal in the drive towards Wales as a sustainable food nation.
Rob Sexton, CEO of Soil Association Certification said: We are already witnessing some fantastic work taking place in Wales around sustainable catering, and are talking to more and more organisations who are keen to demonstrate their commitment to fresh food by achieving the Catering Mark. We're delighted to be co-hosting this event, and look forward to building on these existing achievements to normalise the provision of fresh, organic, locally sourced food in Wales
The events will be held on:
10.30am 1.30pm, Wednesday 3 July 2013 at National Botanic Garden of Wales, Carmarthenshire
10am 1pm, Thursday 18 July 2-13 at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, Colwyn Bay
The day will bring together Welsh local authorities, hospitals, universities, caterers, care homes and organisations that are keen to improve the way their food is sourced and prepared. All attendees are being offered a free consultancy visit from the Soil Association.
If you would like to attend either event please contact Suzi at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0117 914 2434
For press enquiries please contact:
Natasha Collins-Daniel, Press Office Manager 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380
Holly Black, Digital Communications and Press Officer 0117 314 5170
Note for editors:
Organic Centre Wales (OCW) is a partnership consisting of: ADAS, The Organic Research Centre Elm Farm and the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Science (IBERS), Aberystwyth University.
OCW is currently delivering the Better Organic Business Links project (BOBL), funded by Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The project is designed to support the primary producer in Wales and grow the market for Welsh organic produce in a sustainable way. BOBL is also working towards growing consumer demand and more information can be found at: http://www.facebook.com/OrganicCentreWales
For more information contact:
Mrs Jenny Mills, Communications Officer, BOBL
01970 823029 Jem25@aber.ac.uk
Food for Life Catering Mark
 The New Economics Foundation undertook an independent evaluation and found that for every £1 spent on Food for Life menus, there is a £3 return to the local economy. Full report here
 The Food for Life Catering Mark Standards are:
Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
75% of dishes are freshly prepared
Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
Eggs are from cage-free hens
Menus are seasonal
Training is provided for all catering staff
No GM ingredients are used
Free drinking water is available
No endangered fish are served
Information about where the food has come from is on display
Suppliers meet food safety standards
School caterers meet government guidelines for food and nutrition
Silver and gold
The silver and gold Catering Mark Standards work on a flexible points system, which rewards every penny spent on ethical, environmentally friendly and local ingredients, and recognises steps to offer healthier menus.
At silver, at least 5% of ingredients are organic and a selection of local or UK produce is served. A number of steps are taken to make meals healthier.
At gold, at least 15% of ingredients are organic, a significant proportion of the ingredients caterers use must be from the UK or produced locally and further steps are taken to make healthy eating easier.
For more information about the Food for Life Catering Mark and a full list of organisations which have achieved it, as well as the latest meal numbers, please see our web pages: www.sacert.org/catering