London's City Hall has been recognised by the Soil Association for the healthy and sustainable meals it is serving to staff and members of the public.
City Hall, home of the Greater London Authority, has commissioned contract caterer OCS – who meet the Soil Association's bronze Food for Life Catering Mark standard – to provide freshly prepared, healthy and sustainable meals.
The Catering Mark brings together all the issues – from health through to animal welfare and local sourcing – that people care about when it comes to food on the plate. It has become a recognised, industry standard across public and private sector catering with nearly a million meals served up every day to school and nursery children, hospital and care home patients, university students and hundreds of thousands of other people across the UK.
Demand over the last year for Catering Mark meals in staff canteens has dramatically increased as companies look for ways to ensure staff welfare and embrace public health strategies.
Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board met with Soil Association Chair Orna NiChionna, OCS Head Chef, Simon Caple and Cyril Gidigbi, OCS Hospitality and Deputy Manager to welcome the news and sample the menu.
Rosie Boycott, Mayor's Food Advisor and Chair of the London Food Board said: "It is absolutely fantastic that the hard work that has been done by OCS and all the catering staff in City Hall has been recognised by the Soil Association and the Food for Life Catering Mark. The City Hall Café serves hundreds of staff and member of the public each day and it's really good to know that the food that customers enjoy is not just healthy and tasty, but meets important standards in welfare and sustainability too."
Orna NiChionna, Chair of the Soil Association Council said: "Public health strategies are placing increasing emphasis on the role workplaces can play in promoting health and well-being. The consequences of poor diet impact directly on employers, with around 16 million lost working days1. Studies have shown that every euro spent by employers on workplace health promotion leads to a return on investment of between €2.5 and €4.8 due to reduced absenteeism, lower staff turnover and improved productivity2.
The Catering Mark helps organisations tackle these challenges by enabling people to have access to healthy and sustainable menu choices at work. I applaud City Hall's move to provide Catering Mark meals to its staff; it sends out a clear message of encouragement to other organisations to follow suit."
Mark Nelson, director of service development at OCS Group UK, said: "OCS is dedicated to serving good, fresh food to the staff at City Hall. The Food for Life Catering Mark recognises this commitment and gives GLA staff peace of mind that our food is freshly prepared, free from undesirable additives and better for animal welfare. We're very proud of our facilities and our catering offering at GLA, and we're delighted to be working with the Soil Association on an on-going basis to maintain our high standards."