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CaterED – the school food provider in Plymouth – was created to ensure all children and young people in its schools have access to great-tasting, high-quality food. But our judges were especially impressed by the way the caterer has taken this commitment city-wide.
Each year the organisation's 300 staff operate 67 sites across the city, preparing 2.5 million two-course meals from locally sourced produce, including pollock landed in Newlyn and Plymouth and fruit and vegetables from Saltash, just 10 minutes from the city.
It does so on CaterED's company values of ‘feeding ambitions, making a difference', and ‘every child every time', which aim to ensure that happy staff nurture and engage children, share their knowledge and passion for food, and encourage varied diets, adventurous appetites and clean plates.
But CaterED's commitment to CSER goes above and beyond the food on the plate. Food miles are minimised through its use and support of local suppliers; all plastic straws and disposables have been removed, with paper and Vegware products used when single-use products are required. Reusable tableware is used wherever possible.
The caterer was one of the founding companies to sign the Plymouth Plastic Free pledge, and 13 of its staff are ambassadors for Sugar Smart Plymouth, which encourages removing or replacing sugar from recipes. Other local initiatives it supports include Sustainable Food Cities, Sustainable Fish Cities, and Plymouth Children in Poverty.
CaterED is also heavily involved in local community project Grow, Cook, Share, which supports local volunteers to grow fresh fruit and vegetables in community settings, distribute the produce to areas of the city most in need, and assist people in preparing and cooking with the ingredients in a bid to increase the number of households that regularly cook and eat fruit and vegetables.
In addition, its holiday hunger project – Ed's Summer Food Tour – sees the company provide freshly made meals each week to children in local open spaces and to cater for Lunch at Libraries events. In its first year, CaterED cooked, packed and gave away 2,500 meals. In 2018, that number had increased to 9,000.
The caterer is able to deliver these events thanks to the catering managers and assistants who give up some of their holidays to make sure vulnerable children have access to healthy and tasty meals outside of term time.
It is also made possible through donations of ingredients from the caterer's suppliers, meaning that Ed's Summer Food Tour is nil cost, "but the benefits are priceless".
What the judges said
"A well-rounded CSER profile covering food, environment and society."
Alberto Crisci, creator and founder, the Clink
"An inspired, great initiative to educate and help children to eat well with great community engagement."
Julia Edmonds, managing director, Lexington
"A brilliant project that truly enhances lives, with education at its heart."
Mark Philpott, chairman, Vacherin
Cardiff County Council
Compass Group UK & Ireland
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