Quality and sustainability award for campus food at York St John University

Food for Life certification marks dedication to high standards and traceability of produce 

York St John University is pleased to announce that the University’s onsite catering has achieved prestigious Food for Life accreditation. The official award from the Soil Association  recognises that YSJ Kitchen serves food that is considered good for our climate, nature and health.

The Food for Life Served Here certification recognises caterers who are serving meals that use less and better quality meat, responsibly sourced fish, and locally sourced ingredients. Food for Life is part of the Soil Association, the UK’s leading food and farming charity and certification body.

The accreditation has strict criteria and a rigorous audit process and is hard to achieve at a large scale.

With the York St John catering team providing around 600 breakfasts and around 570 hot lunches to students and staff every day, the award is testament to a high level of commitment and a lot of hard work.

The criteria are:

  • Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
  • At least 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
  • Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
  • Eggs are from cage-free hens
  • Menus are seasonal
  • Training is provided for all catering staff
  • No GM ingredients are used
  • Free drinking water is available
  • No endangered fish are served
  • Information about where the food has come from is on display
  • Suppliers meet food safety standards
  • Caterers meet government guidelines for food and nutrition

Executive Chef Steve Broadhurst is in charge of devising the menus and sourcing the ingredients. He’s developed partnerships with local suppliers and visits them to see their products at source. More information about our suppliers is on our website.

He said: “We are delighted to have achieved this Bronze award, showing our commitment to animal welfare, sustainability and growing a healthier menu. I’m not there to tell students what to eat, but I am there to make sure healthy affordable choices are available and appealing.

“We’ve had great feedback since bringing our catering in-house and the food that we’re preparing now uses more than 95% fresh products. The team and I are now excited for the opportunity to push even further to achieve the silver award, which supports and incorporates organic food.”

Sue Waller, Head of Campus and Residential Services said: “Catering is an important and accessible part of the University’s wider commitment to sustainability. Students are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact and ethics of the food they are eating, and we want them to have confidence in what’s on offer on campus.

“Fresh, seasonal and local produce is reducing our environmental footprint as well as offering food that is healthy and at its best for our students and staff. This accreditation also recognises that our supply chain supports local business and respects animal welfare.”

Caron Longden, Head of Business Development at Food for Life, said: “Food for Life Served Here caterers are leading the way in improving food culture. Achieving a Food for Life Served Here certification is a fantastic accomplishment and a true reflection of a caterers’ commitment to serving meals that are nutritious and good for the planet as well as tasty.”

The work on the Food for Life certification sits alongside wider student and staff focus on food systems at the University. The award-winning Living Lab is into its second year of its Feeding the Campus project. This has already led to other initiatives like more food growing space on campus, the creation of the YSJ Student Cookbook and plans for student-led food outlets. More about the Living Lab’s Feeding the Campus project.