We believe the University of Winchester is a national leader in the area of Sustainable Catering. Committed to sustainability, we launched our LIFE brand which provides the foundation for our all our operations:
We promote the use of local suppliers, ensuring that our outlets always stock a number of local products. We only use free-range chicken and pork in our recipes and where possible, use locally reared animals across our range of menus.
Use our supplier map to view the local suppliers and producers we work with.
We are an independent University caterer, so we have the ability to use suppliers that best serve the needs of our customers.
Being fair and just is at the core of our philosophy, from offering Fairtrade products to dealing with customer comments or ensuring that our dishes are honestly priced and remain good value for money.
We strongly believe in high ethical standards. We encourage sustainable life choices and embrace good practices in our operation such as reducing food miles, promoting recycling and efficient waste management.
Through this initiative we are proud to say that:
- Meals and menus, where possible are created using fresh, seasonal and ethical produce, with ingredients sourced from local and regional suppliers
- We measure our carbon footprint and impact on the environment through continuously monitoring our use of meat, dairy and plant-based alternatives
- The University is committed to animal welfare and where possible, uses organic eggs and milk, free range chicken and pork in all dishes, for students and staff alike
- We have reinstated organic beef back on our menus, in support of the “Eating Less, Eating Better” campaign, but have reduced the volume within recipes across our menus. This follows feedback and support from the Humane Society International and PETA that higher welfare beef (organic and grass feed) is better than increased consumption of chicken, which may suffer from overall lower welfare standards.
As outlined in the University’s Ethical Food Policy, tender specification documents for university food suppliers include the requirement for service and supply standards to be met and delivered against targets outlined within the policy.
In 2010, in a move to broaden the understanding and awareness of the quality-assured supply chain, representatives from the University’s catering department, along with the University's Vice-Chancellor, visited Plantation Pigs, a Surrey-based free-range pig farm, to learn about the husbandry that goes into rearing quality, welfare-friendly pigs and the difference it makes to the resulting meat.
The visit was facilitated by the University's butcher supplier, Solent Butchers, in conjunction with Hampshire Fare, a food group whose aim is to raise awareness of local suppliers and their products. 'Free-range' pigs enjoy a natural free-range lifestyle to produce the finest quality pork. Independently inspected, chefs and their customers can be confident that the pork comes from pigs that have been reared to high standards of animal welfare, hygiene and food safety.
Where possible, we commit to only use free-range chicken and pork in all our home-cooked dishes where available.
Better Chicken commitment
Animal welfare is of utmost importance to the University of Winchester and our chicken is already free-range. As part of our continued drive to improve chicken welfare we have adopted the Better Chicken Commitment for 100% of the chicken (fresh/frozen/processed) in our entire supply chain and will meet, and where possible, exceed all the standards in it by the 2024 academic year.
Sustainable Food Initiatives
The University’s allotments at Holm Lodge provide space for staff and students to grow their own food. Staff and students interested in joining the waiting list for an allotment plot can contact the Student Union General Manager. Additionally, any forgeable food, grown across campus, where possible will be used in our dishes.
Coffee grounds from the University’s cafes were collected by Perlins Community Project in Winchester and used as the growing medium in their Oyster Mushrooms Social Enterprise. The University is working with Perlins to purchase the mushrooms grown to use in home-cooked dishes. This project is currently on hold as Perlins have moved to a new site and are currently looking at options to restart the project.
Winchester Food Partnership
The University is one of the founding members of Winchester Food Partnership (WFP), and our Catering Operations Manager, David Morton, sits on the WFP Steering Group. The WFP is supporting and developing sustainable food practices across Winchester District and is working towards Sustainable Food Cities membership alongside a number of other key projects to support local communities and businesses alike.
Campus Community Fridge
We have three Campus Community Fridges. The Community Fridges are based in the Learning Café (Level 4-King Alfred Centre) Cyber Italia (Kenneth Kettle Building) and the West Downs Centre Food Hall (Level 1). These enable the University community to share surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.
We offer free drinking water across campus and at all catering outlets. Use the Water Fountain Map
The University is also a supporter of the Refill campaign. All Food on Campus outlets are listed on the Refill App and are available to university staff and students and external visitors.
Food Waste remains a hot topic – the catering and hospitality industry throws away around 9,200 tonnes a year, three-quarters of which is completely edible. Dealing with that waste risks creating a major environmental burden, and at an average cost of £1.70 per kg, there’s not just an environmental argument for reducing food waste, but also a business one. Any catering business which wants to be sustainable needs to get its food waste under control.
Our reactive systems to food waste were already effective with our food waste going to anaerobic digestion and we introduced a new system in 2018 from Chefs Eye that allows us to weigh, photograph and pinpoint all unavoidable food waste. Monitoring the food waste and learning from the data, including reviewing the Food Hall offer allowed us to introduce the option for smaller portions. Working with Perlins provided waste coffee grounds to grow mushrooms and the community fridges for surplus food aids the campus community.
Kale Yeah! is a new loyalty scheme to encourage students and staff to try more veggie and vegan food.
Students and staff are rewarded with a stamp-based loyalty scheme with a free meal for every 6 veggie or vegan meals purchased. The free meal can be veggie, vegan, meat or fish. The offer is earned and redeemed through the university’s WINPay! loyalty scheme and is available in all University catering outlets.
We are committed to encouraging healthy and sustainable food production and consumption. A diet that contains less meat will help tackle climate chaos and be better for the wider environment, our health and animal welfare.
We recognise the increasing popularity in vegetarian and vegan food, and we’re getting more and more requests for it from students. Our chefs have been on the Forward Food training programme for plant-based cooking and Kale Yeah! will encourage greater uptake of the tasty meat-free dishes already on offer.
Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the producers from low-income countries. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.
Our outlets sell a number of Fairtrade products including bananas, tea, coffee, sugar, orange juice, chocolate. We are always looking to increase the variety and volume of Fairtrade products on sale.
For two weeks each year at the end of February and start of March, we support the Fairtrade Foundation and with thousands of individuals, companies and groups across the UK who come together to share the stories of the people who grow our food and drinks. mine our gold and who grow the cotton in our clothes, people who are often exploited and underpaid.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2024 will run from Monday 9 September to Sunday 22 September 2024.
Ethical Catering Policy
Our ethical catering policy can be viewed here: Ethical Catering Policy.
The policy has been developed in support of the University of Winchester Carbon Management Plan. The Catering Department recognises its responsibility to the environment and carries out its activities in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. We strive to incorporate environmental and social considerations into our operation. We recognise that it is our responsibility to encourage our suppliers to minimise negative environmental and social effects associated with the products and services they provide. We will also strive to ensure that local and smaller suppliers are not discriminated against in the procurement process and specifications, and that they are actively encouraged to participate in tendering opportunities.
It's through these principles we have won a variety of awards for our work
Awards and Achievements
Compassion in World Farming
Compassion in World Farming (CiWF) is a leading farm animal welfare charity that campaigns peacefully to end all cruel factory farming practices. Through prestigious awards, CiWF hopes to inspire, encourage and reward businesses that demonstrate the commitment to improving the standards of animal welfare.
Good Dairy Award
The University was awarded the Good Dairy Award from CiWF in 2011. The Good Dairy Award celebrates companies that use or are committing to use higher welfare dairy systems for cows and calves.
Good Chicken Award
The University was awarded the Good Chicken Award from CiWF in 2010. Winchester was one of only three higher education institutions to receive the award, which recognised the University's use of free-range chicken in catering operations. The Good Chicken Award, launched in 2010, celebrates companies that use or are committing to use (within 5 years) higher welfare chicken production systems in their supply chain.
Good Egg Award
The University has been using free-range eggs in its catering service since 2005 and was awarded the Good Egg Award from CiWF in 2009. The award recognises the University’s commitment to animal welfare, in particular, the use of free range eggs in all catering activities. From 2015, all our dishes and recipes requiring whole raw egg will be made using organic eggs. The win also demonstrated the University's continuing move to a totally animal welfare friendly catering service. The Good Egg Awards were developed by CiWF to celebrate companies that have committed to freeing millions of hens from a life of suffering in battery cages.
Good Pig Award
The Good Pig Award recognises companies that use or are committing to use (within five years) higher welfare systems for sows and meat pigs. To date, more than 3.1 million sows and meat pigs are set to benefit each year as a result of our Good Pig Award.
The University has been using free-range pork in its catering service since 2010 and we are currently working towards achieving the Good Pig Award for 2023.
Soil Association's - Food for Life
When you see a Food for Life logo you know that food on the menu will be freshly prepared, it will always be free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners and additives, be cooked by trained chefs, and use ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources. Silver or Gold awards show you can expect more ethical, environmentally friendly and local ingredients.
- 2020-21 – No inspection from the Soil Association, due to the covid-19 pandemic
- 2019: Silver Campus Award for all food on campus outlets.
- 2017: Food Hall – Silver / Conference – Silver / Princes Mead – Bronze / Cyber Italia – Silver / Gourmet Burger Company - Gold
- 2016: Food Hall – Silver / Conference – Silver / Princes Mead – Bronze / Cyber Italia – Silver / Gourmet Burger Company - Gold
- 2015: LIFE Menus (Hospitality and Conference) – 1 x Bronze and 2 x Silver / The Food Hall – Bronze / Gourmet Burger Company – 1 x Gold and 2 x Bronze / Conference Menus – 3 x Silver
- 2014: LIFE Menus (Hospitality and Conference) – 1 x Bronze and 2 x Silver / The Food Hall – Bronze / Gourmet Burger Company – 1 x Gold and 2 x Bronze / Conference Menus – 3 x Silver
- 2013 6 x Bronze 2 x silver 1 x gold
- 2012 5 x Bronze, 2 x Silver and 1 x Gold
The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA)
The SRA works to stimulate and accelerate environmental and social change and progress in the UK hospitality sector. Their three-tiered rating system recognises an organisation’s efforts through assessing its commitment to ten different criteria in three different categories: the provenance of produce, supporting the community and reducing waste and recycling.
- 2011 onwards – 3 Stars
- 2020-21 No inspection due to Covid-19 pandemic
- 2021-22 No inspection due to Covid-19 pandemic
Green Impact Awards
- 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14 & 2015/16
- Green Impact Innovation Award winners 2010/11
- Green Impact Catering Award 2012/13, 2013/14 & 2015/16
Other Awards and Achievements
- Hampshire Fare member since 2011
- Green Gown Awards Finalist 2020 in the Campus Health, Food and Drink category.
- National Recycling Awards 2018. Winner of Campaign of the Year – Public/Third Sector. The University of Winchester - ‘Chew fancy a brew?’ - A coffee cup campaign
- Awards for Excellent in Waste Management 2018. Winner of Waste Management Initiative In The Retail, Commercial And Public Sector. ‘Chew Fancy a Brew?’ The University of Winchester’s Coffee Cup Initiative
- Shortlisted in the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle category in the Food Made Good Awards 2018
Listed in the Top 20 Restaurants in the Food Made Good Awards 2018
- Green Gown Awards Winner 2017 in the food and drink category for our reusable coffee cup initiative.
- 2017 FreeFrom Awards Crème de la Crème – Gold
- TUCO Innovation award 2016 for introduction of organic burger restaurant
- 2016 FreeFrom Awards Education Sector – Gold