Progress towards achieving the UCA Catering Services Sustainable Food Policy and its associated action plan are reported annually to the Sustainability Strategy Group (SSG).


  • In Spring 2023 the Catering team supported a week of engagement with staff and students on sustainable food. Each day more sustainable food options were offered at lunch along with supporting information at point of sale. Each day the focus was on a different aspect of sustainability and the food on sale – topics included reducing food miles and buying locally, reducing food waste, understanding the carbon footprint of different ingredients, and plant-based diets.
  • Since 2021/22 single use packaging for prepared food has been replaced with compostable – starch-based plastics or paper board. To disincentivise the use of single use packaging a surcharge of 50 pence was introduced.
  • Since 2017/18, over 10% of catering spend has been with small local businesses, thereby supporting local economies and in the case of fresh fruit and vegetables, reducing food transport distances.
  • In 2015/16, 86% of the purchases by UCA Catering Services across all four campuses were completed via The Universities Caterers Organisation (TUCO) approved suppliers. TUCO endeavours to embed sustainable procurement within all contracts and framework agreements.
  • Since 2014/15, all eggs purchased have been free-range and carried the Lion mark stamp.
  • Since 2014/15, all fish prepared and served has been Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified.
  • Since 2013/14, 100% of meat and meat products have carried the Red Tractor mark. The Red Tractor logo indicates that food is safe to eat, and has been produced responsibly - from farm to fork.
  • Since 2013/14, free drinking water has been available at all times in all UCA canteens.
  • Since 2013/14, all single use serve ware for food is made from fully biodegradable material. In 2018 to encourage the use of washable re-usable ceramic tableware and charge of 25 pence was introduced on all food purchases in take-away single-use packaging.
  • Since 2014/15, reusable glass bottles have been used for all hospitality catering, including events and meeting room servicing.
  • Discounts (10p off) on the cost of coffee and tea are available at all catering outlets to those using their own mugs for hot beverages.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available in all UCA canteens.
  • No salt is added to any food prepared (hot & cold) by UCA canteens.
  • Since 2015/16 students have tended and produced a modest quantity of soft fruits and vegetables in Farnham as part of the ‘Secret Gardeners Society’, which was established with funding from the university and the support of catering staff. Most of the food produced has been harvested and used by the students who volunteer their time to nurture the plants. However, Farnham Catering Staff are able to collect fresh herbs and in consultation with volunteers utilise other produce.

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