Accommodation Catering and Events holds the 'Food For Life Served Here' Catering Mark at Bronze level for all student meals served in catered halls which number over 750,000 meals served over the student semesters.

In 2014 the University achieved the "Good Egg Award" in recognition of the University's commitment to use only free range whole/shell eggs across 100% of their catering. A strategic decision was made to switch all shelled eggs to free range over six years ago and 386,000 shelled eggs are used annually.

Accommodation, Catering and Events is also a member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and has achieved a two star rating through evidence of best practice over a range areas including food sourcing, Society, and Environment.

We have made a commitment to cut down waste in our catered campus, Pollock Halls, where breakfast and dinner is served at the JMCC Restaurant. Take a look at this video which highlights our goals and successes.

Sustainability in Catering procurement, Supply and Waste Management

A key aspect of ensuring that cost effective catering services are provided, and as the largest University in Scotland we benefit from the lowest food prices, is a full commitment to Collaborative Procurement with other public sector organisations.

In addition we will look where financially feasible at a range of sustainability actions in our procurement and waste management to include:

  • Reduction in food miles
  • Food seasonality
  • Local Produce with commitment to provenance
  • Meat is Farm Assured to maintain the highest levels of animal welfare which is also a requirement of the Food For Life Catering Mark
  • Fairtrade\ethical foods (note: trade-off impact on food miles)
  • Full commitment to recycling including compliance with the Scottish Food Waste regulation introduced in January 2014, so that all food waste is split from mixed recyclables, and general waste/landfill

It should be clearly noted that first and foremost there is commitment to collaborative procurement of food contracts both at a UK and Scotland Level, and only where there is a direct benefit to the institution will it move away form these contracts to support greater initiatives on sustainability and can demonstrate a “Single Source Justification”.  

Whilst there are products offered on national contracts such as fair-trade sugar, coffee etc, legally it is not possible to discriminate against a supplier on the basis that they do not offer a specific percentage or range of products which are more sustainable when contracts are tendered. Only through a supplier being the only supplier who can meet a set of unique criteria which no others can provide can at this time be considered for the direct award of a contract through a Voluntary ex ante transparency (VEAT) notice. However for many suppliers we have started to us on this basis they then have subsequently been encouraged to tender for a suitable contract/framework agreement and been successful thus ensuring full future contract compliance.

Current Activity in the University (February 2016)

National contracts
(UK Level - The University Caterers Organisation Ltd)

These are the largest agreements and offer the most competitive prices:

  • Alcohol
  • Catering Light & Heavy Equipment
  • Confectionery, Snacks, Cakes & Ancillary Products
  • Disposables & Kitchen Chemicals
  • Fresh/Frozen Meat and Poultry
  • Frozen and Chilled food
  • Grocery, Provisions & Chilled Foods, sourcing fair-trade products where financially viable
  • Hot Beverage
  • Sandwiches
  • Soft Drinks, Fruit Juice Concentrate , Associated Products & Services
  • Vending

Scottish contracts
(National level - Advanced Procurement of Universities and Colleges)

APUC as a procurement organisation also have an environmental policy, sustainability policy, supply chain sustainability policy and code of conduct.!/devsus

  • Meat
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Fresh fish & seafood
  • Bakery
  • Milk/dairy

The majority of activity currently in reducing food miles and working with local suppliers is on Scottish contracts, but the University has also "come off" contract on certain items in order to increase sustainability/ethical progress

  • On TUCO Ltd National contracts have gone sole supply with a company to supply both products from the Grocery, Provisions & Chilled Foods, Frozen food contract and Disposables and Kitchen Chemicals Contract, so one vehicle used per site for delivery and split into four sections to thus reduce food miles and carbon footprint. This all is distributed from their depot in Newbridge, Edinburgh.
  • Through dry good contract, all biscuits supplied by Walkers shortbread from Aberlour on Spey are served with all tea and coffee for meetings and events.
  • Fruit and Vegetables supplied by a supplier in Newbridge Edinburgh with majority sourced from the Edinburgh and Glasgow fruit markets with balance in the main from Europe.
  • Milk and Dairy from a supplier in Bridge of Allan and all sourced from dairy herds from Scottish farms.
  • Meat and Fresh fish and seafood – same supplier for fish and meat based in Bonnyrigg enables rationalisation of deliveries from one two vehicles into one. 90% of all beef is Scottish will full farm traceability and fish from Scottish Waters and not on the red list as a key criteria for the Food For Life Award and Sustainable Restaurant Association Awards
  • Bakery from a Glasgow supplier
  • Rice - all fairtrade and specific University only contract with all rice fairly traded from Malawi
  • Fairtrade sugar sticks - 675,000 used over 2014/15
  • Coffee & Tea - all supplied from a two Scottish companies who fully roast, grind and distribute in Scotland with all products Fairtrade but with another paying for local community project e.g. planting of fruit orchards working with local community groups.
  • In 2014/15 we served as fair trade hot beverages: Tea - 751,000 cups, Coffee - 2.3 million cups, Hot Chocolate - 600,000 cups
  • Using a local Glasgow company for organic and fairtrade products including, oats, seeds, muesli bars etc
  • Eggs - 386,000 free range eggs supplied from a sole supplier in Northumberland
  • Eggs - 10088kg of free range liquid egg
  • Oil - all cooking oil is fully recycled and taken away to be converted to bio-diesel by Olleco see:
  • From introducing the sustainable and re-useable KeepCup into catering outlets in 2011, over 12000 have now been sold this equates to 5,928,000 disposable cups which did not have to go into waste last year. Find out more about keepcups at The University: 
  • Fairtrade wines - supplier provided from the TUCO Ltd Alcohol contract and are offer as a choice on the commercial division "Edinburgh First" wine list.
  • Bulk Fairtrade apple juice – specific contract with a supplier in Fife to supply bulk bag-in-box Fairtrade apple juice to the main Pollock Halls of residence for students and all vacations when fully commercial.