Sponsored by CH&Co Group
Amadeus delivers catering operations for the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham, one of Europe's largest conference centres, attracting 350,000 delegates annually.
In terms of health and nutrition trends, consumers are increasingly concerned about improving their wellbeing through food, and Amadeus is answering this call to provide healthy options that cater to all allergen and dietary requirements. The delegates at the ICC are no different to any other consumer, and Amadeus' research with Warwick Conferences showed that the most common reason delegates were disappointed with food at events was due to limited choice (47%), while one in five found catering inappropriate due to their dietary requirements.
To tackle this, Amadeus teamed up with Food for the Brain, a charitable foundation focused on promoting the importance of nutrition in mental health, and launched a new menu for ICC delegates championing healthy eating and nutrition. This new strategy linked optimum nutrition and brain health and the ICC teams worked collaboratively to create a range of ‘Focus Food' menus, specifically designed to boost delegates' energy levels, concentration and performance, as well as supporting their general health.
The chef team designed menus featuring high-protein foods that provided slow-release energy, and all dishes used fresh ingredients for maximum nutrition. Appetising vegetable dishes and salads are featured along with healthy proteins, and the levels of oils and sugar are carefully managed to provide a healthy balance. Even the way the food is cooked allows for maximum nutrition and flavour to be retained.
Menus include vegan and vegetarian food, as well as gluten-free and dairy-free options. Food presentation was also designed to support delegates in making the healthiest choice. For example, mini cookies were placed in glass jars, creating an extra barrier to get to the treat as the delegate must first open the lid, encouraging mindful eating.
Staff training, menu development, the cost of the accreditation and the cost of visits from Food for the Brain representatives came to just £3,500, which represents a phenomenal return on investment as the menu contributed to the ICC's most successful trading year to date. Over the next 12 months the team are aiming to generate £150,000 from food sales.
Amadeus first gained Food for the Brain accreditation in February 2017, which it achieved through meeting a range of criteria, including nutritional value. It was reaccredited in 2018. There are now plans to extend the accreditation to other venues that Amadeus caters for, including Amadeus at the Waterfront in Belfast and the Vox Conference Centre.
What the judges said
"A very worthy winner with creative ideas within a very competitive market. It is a model that could be replicated in many conference centres."
"This is a very strong programme, achieving results in profit in its very first year."
"The initiative included training opportunities for all staff and Food for the Brain is an excellent concept."
"This pragmatic approach to health and nutrition has really paid off, and customers are taking it up enthusiastically."
Craig Hancox Amadeus
Brad Pearce CATERed
Amy Roberts Holroyd Howe
Gabriella Roberts BaxterStorey
Judith Gregory Senior client officer, Cardiff Council
Gary Hunter Vice-principal, Westminster Kingsway College
Fiona McCullough Honorary secretary, the British Dietetic Association
Willie McCurrach Curriculum head for food, City of Glasgow College
Sian O'Shea Chair, the British Dietetic Association
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