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Nottingham University Hospital first to achieve Gold Standard for food

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) has become the first NHS hospital in the UK to achieve a Gold Standard for food award.

NUH has achieved the Soil Association’s Gold Food for Life Catering Mark, the highest level at which the standard is awarded.

The Catering Mark has been awarded for serving fresh, healthy meals, made with local, seasonal and organic ingredients.

They have been recognised for providing staff, patients and visitors at City Hospital and Queens Medical Centre, with a guarantee that the food is prepared with fresh ingredients, free from harmful additives and trans fats.

Providing good and nutritious hospital food for patients was highlighted in key guidance (known as CQUINs) for NHS commissioners in December 2013, and hospitals are now being encouraged to ensure their food meets standards, such as the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark.

The Catering Mark was launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2009 and now accredits more than 160 million meals a year across schools, hospitals, nurseries, care homes and workplaces.

The Gold Catering Mark means that at least 15% of total ingredients spend is on organic ingredients and menus make use of ingredients produced locally and in the UK.   

NUH Chief Executive, Peter Homa, says, “Becoming the first Trust in the country to achieve this prestigious award is an outstanding achievement and testament to the hard work of our catering team.

“We are committed to sourcing ingredients locally to ensure we get the freshest seasonal produce for our patients, visitors and staff. Good nutrition and hydration is an important part of our patients’ recovery and remains a priority for us at NUH.”

NUH are able to provide patients, staff and visitors with quality meals at an ingredient cost price of £4.53 per patient per day, which is below the national average for patient day costs.

“Having a flexible menu and working in partnership with local suppliers enables us to produce food with fresh ingredients when they are available, and take them off our menu out of season,” says Chris Neale, Central Food Production Manager at NUH.

“As we are such a large organisation, this provides stability to the local economy, and supports British supply chains.”

Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification says, "The Gold Catering Mark is a fantastic achievement, and it’s great to see NUH gaining recognition for serving fresh meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients.

“It is becoming increasingly recognised that fresh, nutritious food plays an important part in improving patient care and meeting public health outcomes.

“Serving menus to Gold Standards helps to build the skills of catering staff and reduce carbon emissions. Nottingham University Hospital Trust is leading the way in the drive to improve food culture in our hospitals.”