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Healthier catering awards – review of existing schemes

10 March 2010

On average one in every six meals in the UK is consumed outside the home, often on the run. No matter what age, young or old, good nutrition is a key ingredient to a healthy lifestyle. Simple steps like reducing salt, sugar and fat intake by making small changes can make a big difference to obesity and health-related issues like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

To help people make informed healthy choices many councils are working with local food businesses by providing them with knowledge and motivation to serve and promote healthier food choices with healthier catering award schemes.

As the first step in a wider piece of work providing councils with guidance on Healthier Catering awards, LACORS has produced a landscaping paper outlining some of the key healthier catering award schemes currently being run by councils and other organisations. The paper aims to provide some useful background information for councils thinking about establishing an award scheme in their area. The paper focuses on eight schemes:

Local authority schemes
  1. Wales: Healthy Options Award - Three tier award scheme developed by CIEH Wales and delivered by individual local authorities in Wales.
  2. Essex: Healthylife – Healthy Eating Awards - Two tier award scheme developed and overseen by Essex Food Liaison Group and delivered by individual local authorities.
  3. Surrey: Eat Out Eat Well Award - Three tier award scheme managed by Surrey County Council Trading Standards Service and delivered in partnership with Elmbridge Borough Council, Guildford Borough Council and Spelthorne Borough Council.
  4. Brighton: Healthy Choice Award - Three tier healthy catering award scheme run by Brighton & Hove Council with Brighton and Hove Food Partnership and Brighton and Hove City NHS Trust. Includes assessment by a nutritionist.
  5. Lancashire: Recipe 4 Health - Single level award scheme administered and delivered by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards Service and Environmental Health teams in Burnley, Chorley, Preston, Rossendale, West Lancashire and Wyre. Includes environmental criteria.
  6. Wigan: Healthy Business Award - Single level award scheme developed and delivered by Wigan council and offering free nutritional analysis of recipes.
  7. Non-local authority schemes

  8. Scotland: Healthyliving Award - Single level award (with new Plus award available to existing award holders), developed and delivered by Consumer Focus Scotland.
  9. Public sector: Healthier Food Mark pilot - Pilot three tier award scheme for public sector organizations being developed by Department of Health, and focusing on both healthier and more sustainable food.
While each of the awards differs slightly, they feature a common thread that not everything on the menu needs to be ‘healthy’ for a business to apply, with award winners ranging from fish and chip shops to organic cafes. The awards are designed to help people easily identify businesses that are helping customers choose healthier food when eating out.

View the landscaping paper, or visit the food vision website for information on a range of other healthy food projects.