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Catering for sustainability

By Natacha Allen, head of commercial events at the Royal College of Physicians Meetings & Events

Healthy, sustainable food is an important part of the event offering today. Delegates food expectations have increased and event planners need to be seen to be operating sustainably. Food has always been a key element of our offering at the RCP yet now more than ever the produce used in our menus has been scrutinised for its origin, quality and freshness. From cutting down the amount of salt in our dishes to using sugar alternatives these are just some of the sustainable food initiatives we have adopted below with our caterer CH&CO.

Serving more vegetables and better meat

We are increasing the proportion of vegetable-led dishes on our menus to combat environmental damage and purchasing high welfare meat and dairy products. Vegetarian dishes are an integrated part of our inclusive menus and we have reduced meat dishes by 20% to offer more vegetarian options. A quarter of our menu options are plant-led.

Sourcing our fish responsibly

We are now serving sustainably caught fish to ensure the future of fish stocks and marine environments. We pledge to incorporate the Responsible Fishing Scheme certification into our sourcing policies, secure a profitable, sustainable and socially responsible future for the seafood industry and contribute to its long-term viability. Our pledge to the Marine Conservation Society protects our seas, shores and wildlife by improving biodiversity, creating healthier fish stocks and reducing pollution on beaches and in the sea. 95% of our overall fish spend is 1-3 rated and we only buy pole and line tuna.

Supporting global farmers

We are now sourcing fairly-traded produce to ensure farmers in the developing world have access to a trade system based on justice and fairness. We champion fairtrade and ethical farming and work with likeminded suppliers. Our coffee philosophy gives back to communities in the developing world.

Concentrating on healthy food

We are offering balanced menu options, reasonable portions and healthy options to cater for customers’ needs. This includes offering healthier alternatives with sandwiches and dishes under 500 calories available, menus with 50% of dishes containing below the Recommended Daily Intake of salt and Stevia being introduced instead of sugar

It is important for us to put healthy, sustainable food at the core of our menu offerings yet also create menus that offer first class food, wine and service that are appealing to delegates. Food has the power to make people feel good and that goes beyond what’s on the plate. Great food experiences lift the spirit, bring people together and fuel emotional positivity and physical wellbeing.

We want to show others that sustainable need not be boring or bland and as an industry we all have a duty to do what we can to look after our planet.