Prize display for champions of healthy living

ACCORDING TO dubious research cooked up for a marketing campaign a few years ago the third Monday of January deserves the title of “Blue Monday”. That’s when people are at their most miserable, thanks to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. This year it fell on January 21st and, according to the website hosted in its honour, it was the top trending topic on Twitter the world over. Good news for a bad day, perhaps.

Foodservice Footprint P12-13 Prize display for champions of healthy living Health and Vitality  Westminster Kingsway West Country Reduced Sodium Eatwell Cheese Well Being University of Cambrisge The Cheese Warehouse Susan Jebb St John's College Cambridge Sodexo Raymond Blanc Professor John Stein Phil Hooper Nick Fenwicke-Clennell Nestle Professional Matt Dawson Lord's Cricket Ground Lord's LACA High Welfare English Veal Health & Vitality Honours Gary Hunter Footprint Forum espsys DB Foods Compass Group UK & Ireland Charlton House Charles Miers CH&Co Bupa Brookfield Farm Brakes Bill Brogan Being Well Anne Bull Amanda Ursell Acquire














Blue Monday could be a bad day for business too. “Workplace malaise” is costing the UK as much as £93bn in lost productivity, according to researchers at the University of Exeter. Their study suggested that improvements to workplace ambience could help improve productivity among downbeat staff by 32%. But there is another area of research into staff wellbeing that is gaining far more traction, academically, socially and economically. Food.


At the turn of the year, the Times ran a story about a “brave new world of super workers”, fuelled by improvements to the fare in staff canteens. Understandably, corporate nutrition has got many in foodservice excited – and it’s also captured the interest of Footprint. “As a nation, we’ve spent the last 10 years questioning where our food comes from and, more recently, the sustainability of its supply,” explains the Footprint Media Group CEO, Nick Fenwicke-Clennell. “Today, more than ever, we are asking questions about the benefits or otherwise of the food itself to individual health, nutrition and wellbeing and the impact it has on society in general.” When he says “we” he means everyone, including business leaders. The idea of “mood food” might seem a little soft for the hard corporate world but examples of businesses working more closely with their caterers to provide healthier options for their staff are snowballing. Bupa is working with BaxterStorey on calorie labels, Charlton House is helping Pernod Ricard with its “Wellbeing Works” programme, and there are many others beside. Such achievements have not received the recognition they deserve, while the sharing of best practice has also been limited. Until now.


Just a few days before Blue Monday, Footprint held the inaugural Health & Vitality Honours (HVH) lunch. An award scheme this is not. “The honours are designed to recognise those operators and manufacturers – in the cost and profit sectors of the industry – who have taken up the challenge of improving customers’ nutrition and wellbeing,” explained Fenwicke-Clennell in his opening remarks. This is a platform to showcase best practice; it is the chance to work in a non-competitive environment to help the industry improve together. “By the very nature of its size and reach, the foodservice industry is in the position to influence a cultural shift in attitude and behaviour,” he added. “It is our hope that the publicity surrounding the honours will encourage other operators to follow this path so that collectively we can have a major impact on the health of the nation.”


The lunch at Lord’s Cricket Ground – created by the MCC’s executive chef, Tim Harrington – provided a fitting start to the event, staged with the support of Sodexo, the headline sponsor. Leading personalities from the industry, including Raymond Blanc, the Local Authority Caterers Association chair, Anne Bull, and Westminster Kingsway’s head of culinary arts, Gary Hunter, teamed up with the health and nutrition expert Dr Susan Jebb and Sodexo’s health ambassador, Matt Dawson, to judge and honour companies from all along the supply chain.


One of the most hotly contested categories was the Communication and Engagement Honours. Charlton House pipped Compass UK & Ireland with its Well Being, Being Well initiative. The judges noted that in years to come companies will need to provide more detail of tangible improvements – something that business leaders will also be keen to access when considering new contracts.


As HVH’s principal ambassador, Amanda Ursell, a nutritionist, writer and consultant, suggested, “top bosses understand well that nutrition is important for employee performance”. However, more data will offer caterers more opportunity to show how diet can affect performance, productivity and morale among the workforce.


As discussion evolved over the lunch, Mick Hickman, foodservice director at Compass – runner-up for Communication and Engagement and winner of the Healthy Hospitality Honours – argued that it was also incumbent upon foodservice providers to satisfy growing consumer demand for more information about their food. “But it requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work to deliver it – recipes have to be analysed, labels must be accurate and chefs have to get the portions right,” he said.


Much work has been done already to reformulate menus and products, but the Public Health Responsibility Deal has brought it all together under one roof. The deal has its detractors – with calls for legislative rather than light-touch policy to tackling diet-related health issues (see page 14) – but Phil Hooper isn’t one of them. The corporate affairs director at Sodexo – which won the Public Sector HVH for, the judges said, the way in which “insight on differing needs has driven different options” – explained how “nudge” is better than regulation. This is something he also touched upon in an exclusive interview in January’s Footprint when he said: “What’s driven [health] up the agenda is that the government has looked at the problems around obesity and the costs of poor health to the health service and though: ‘What can we do with industry to tackle this?’ They’ve looked at who is involved and how they affect people’s diets. Foodservice companies are a big part of that.”


And this collaboration has to extend right up and down the supply chain – a fact recognised in the HVH through honours for Responsible Manufacturing and a Product of the Year. A joint venture between The Cheese Warehouse and Cricketer Farm won the former category for their West Country Reduced Sodium Eatwell Cheese. The product, which competes with full-fat cheddar on taste even though it has 50% less fat and 30% less salt, was developed in response for caterers tasked with hitting strict targets and committing themselves to pledges under the government’s health deal.


It is more of this innovation – whether in products, menus, marketing or services – that the HVH seek to inspire. “This venture will create more transparency on health- related issues within the foodservice supply chain, and provide a truly great platform for businesses to showcase best practice,” said Ursell. “I can’t wait to discover what the industry is doing to ‘health up’ the meals they are feeding to millions of people every day, and am very excited about the potential for the honours to inspire everyone in the industry to create tasty, good-for-you offerings.”


The first Health & Vitality Honours


Health & Vitality Communication and Engagement Honours sponsored by Innocent


Winner: Charlton House for its Well Being, Being Well Initiative


Runner-up: Compass Group UK & Ireland



Health & Vitality Sourcing Honours sponsored by Acquire


Winner: DB Foods for its Brookfield Farm High Welfare English Veal


Runner-up: St John’s College, University of Cambridge



Public Sector Health & Vitality Honours sponsored by Brakes


Winner: Sodexo with Supporting Healthy Eating in the British Armed Forces



Corporate Vitality Honours sponsored by the members of Footprint Forum


Winner: Nestlé Professional


Runner-up: Charlton House



Healthy Hospitality Honours sponsored by Nestlé Professional


Winner: Compass Group UK & Ireland Runner-up: Charlton House



Responsible Manufacturing Honours sponsored by epsys


Winner: A joint venture between The Cheese Warehouse and Cricketer Farm, for their West Country Reduced Sodium Eatwell Cheese


Runner-up: Nestlé Professional



Health & Vitality Product of the Year sponsored by Sodexo


Winner: A joint venture between The Cheese Warehouse and Cricketer Farm, for their West Country Reduced Sodium Eatwell Cheese


Runner-up: DB Foods for its Brookfield Farm High Welfare English Veal



Special Achievement Honours


Winner: Bill Brogan, catering & conference manager, St. John’s College, University of Cambridge 




Acquire Services





Cambridge University Catering

At Your Convenience


Compass Group

Cricketer Farm DB Foods

Delphis Eco

Ferns Coffee

Food Partners

Footprint Media Group

HM Forces

Innocent Drinks

Isobar Ltd

Johnson’s Stalbridge


London Borough of Havering

London Linen Group

London Playing Fields 

Medical Research Council

Nestle Professional

Novus Leisure

Oxford University

Partners In Purchasing

Pimpernel Wharf

Prestige Purchasing

Pret A Manger





Splash Partnership

The Cheese Warehouse

The Clink

The Hub

The National Trust


Unilever Food Solutions


Westminster Kingsway

Zeta Graphics

Zoological Society of London 


Headline Sponsor: Sodexo

Launch Sponsors: Acquire Services, Brakes, Innocent, Nestlé Professional