Serving Better: Helping local authorities buy more sustainable food

20 October 2021
Along with fellow organisations in the Eating Better Alliance, we have put together new guidance for local authorities on sustainable and healthy food procurement.

The new guidance, titled Serving Better: every meal counts in a climate and nature emergency, emphasises the need to move to more sustainably procured food.

Serving Better asks that all meat and dairy is as a minimum farm assured, that by 2025 there is a 25% reduction in the volume of meat and dairy served, and that 25% of meat and dairy meets a ‘better’ standard. The ‘better’ standard is defined in the document and includes things like indoor production having RSPCA Assurance.

Given that around a quarter of the population eat meals in public sector settings each year, public sector procurement has huge potential to help deliver the outcomes we need for people and planet. In our cities, animal-based foods contribute around 75% of food emissions. Conveniently, if everybody in the UK moved to a healthier diet, in line with the Eatwell Guide, it is estimated dietary emissions would fall by 45%.

This new guidance from Eating Better will help us meet the recommendations of the National Food Strategy, which highlights the urgent need to reduce our meat consumption and increase our fruit and vegetable consumption by 30%.

It doesn’t have to be difficult either. Swapping a primary school beef spaghetti Bolognese for one with lentils can lead to two-thirds less CO2 emissions, the same amount of protein, double the fibre, and all for 20% less cost! This and more is in the guide, along with the Eating Better website, which provides advice for local authorities to help them to make the transitions they need.