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Sustainability Award: King’s Food Team - King’s College London

9th Apr 2024 - 11:37

King’s College London operations and activities can have a significant impact on local and global environments, and they aim to minimise their negative environmental effects, while strengthening their positive impact through their research, teaching and actions.

Their ambitious sustainability targets are underpinned by operational policies, plans and systems, demonstrating the decisive action they are taking to reduce the negative impacts of their operations. The Sustainable Food Policy sets out key commitments for the in-house catering team, King’s Food, who operate the cafés, restaurants and hospitality for events on campus.

The policy includes the commitment towards sourcing local and seasonal produce, treating people fairly and supporting the environment. King’s Food also have a Fairtrade policy, committing to source and promote Fairtrade products.

A three-year menu development plan based on the ‘Menus of Change’ principles promote a shift towards healthy and sustainable eating on campus. King’s College London set an ambitious target to be Net Zero by 2025. Food production and kitchen equipment play a huge part. They aim to have all electric kitchens by 2025.

In collaboration with nutrition and sustainability academics, the King’s Food Team are changing food relationships and eating culture through their inverted menu design principle which offers an inclusive and lower impact menus.

The goal 15 months ago was to embed plant-based, sustainable, healthy eating into the heart of the offer and the ethos of the team, whilst maintaining their budgeted sales and growing their customer base. They have exceeded their targets.

At the core of the success is a team that has embraced the mission with enthusiasm and creativity. Team members who were once sceptical about plant-based food are now developing amazing dishes and looking forward to the new challenges they face. Their passion and commitment are a testament to the power of a shared vision and purpose.

The approach has been to make sustainable, plant-based food mainstream and accessible. The sales remain strong, even during post-covid budgets and more staff now working from home. The footfall is still as strong as it was pre-covid, and they are excited to see it continue to grow.

Since start of session (August 2022), the King’s Food Team swapped all cakes and pastries to be plant-based. The YoY sales have been unaffected and the swap to 46,736 plant-based cakes and pastries has resulted in a reduction of 10.7 tonne of C02e per year.

The King’s Food Team has installed Cheetah from Quintex, a Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation System (DKVS) in two of the main kitchens, this will enable them to reduce energy costs by up to 80%. The Cheetah extraction system works by controlling ventilation fan speeds such that extract rates are matched with cooking demands, hence optimising energy use.

Levy from the sale of disposable coffee cups is used to support community sustainability projects. Staff and students make a yearly ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch to showcase their initiatives, to access the funds. Giving sustainable free plant-based milk, such as oat with tea/coffee was one such initiative.

PSC Alliance