Sustainable food

Two salad plates at The Junction from Garden to Table initiative.

London Metropolitan University is committed to creating a food system that benefits our community, food producers, and our environment. Our caterers are working with the vendors, and local farmers and suppliers to achieve real food that is produced through means that promote social justice and environmental sustainability.

Here is some standards Catering Team are supporting by taking part in Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark and have achieved a Bronze Award in October 2019. The Food for Life Catering Mark is an independent endorsement, backed by annual inspections, to improve the food we serve.

Our caterers meet the following standards:

  • The catering team is supported with skills training in fresh food preparation and the Catering Mark.
  • All suppliers have been verified to ensure they apply appropriate food safety standards.
  • Information is on display about food provenance.
  • Menus are seasonal and in-season produce is highlighted.
  • Eggs are from free-range hens.
  • Free drinking water is prominently available.
  • No genetically modified ingredients are used.
  • No undesirable additives or artificial trans fats are used.
  • At least 75% of dishes on the menu are freshly prepared (on-site or at a local hub kitchen) from unprocessed ingredients.
  • During summertime produce from the roof garden is used to make meals.


  • We use biodegradable packaging and have implemented salad and breakfast bar stations as well as yoghurt bar and are working to increase our recycling rates throughout the next Academic year.
  • Our oil waste is recycled by Olleco. The oil is de-packed, heated, cleaned and filtered and then sent to a biodiesel plant in Liverpool for recycling. Biodiesel gives more than 86% greenhouse carbon saving compared to regular fossil diesel.
  • Bamboo coffee cups are available to purchase at all our outlets.

Below you will find some information about University's and tips for eating more sustainably, reducing food waste 

Overfishing and other harmful fishing practices have pushed many of the world’s fisheries to the brink of collapse. You can help protect aquatic ecosystems by selecting seafood that is caught or farmed responsibly. We now serve MSC certified fish and maximise the use of fish on the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) ‘fish to eat’ list. No fish are served from the Marine Conservation Society ‘fish to avoid’ list.

All our meat and poultry is Red Tractor Assured and from farms that satisfy UK animal welfare standards but the production of meat, particularly beef, is extremely resource-intensive. To reduce your environmental footprint, try out Meat Free Mondays by incorporating some meatless meals into your diet and our catering provides just that!

With enough of us taking this small step, we can significantly reduce our impact on the earth - and boost our health at the same time. Having at least one plant-based day a week is a fun and easy way to do something good for the planet and our future. Here is some fact about meat production according to the Meat Free Mondays :

  • It can take 30 bathtubs of water to produce just one beef burger
  • An area of rainforest the size of a hundred football pitches is cut down every hour to create room for grazing cattle
  • Almost a third of all land on Earth is used for livestock production

See the difference you can make - use the Impact Calculator to see how you can have a positive impact by eating less meat and dairy.

In our catering outlets, we are passionate about reducing our food waste when preparing meals to the students and monitoring healthy portion sizes. We record our daily food waste with an aim to continuously monitor and reduce waste.

According to the WRAP 2021, in total, a staggering 6.6 million tonnes of food waste comes from our homes each year in the UK, at a cost of £14 billion. Of that, 4.5 million tonnes is food that could have been eaten, which works out to around eight meals per household each week. This ‘edible’ element of household food waste is responsible for 14 million tonnes of Co2e alone - as much greenhouse gas produced as flying from London to Perth more than 4.5 million times.

Globally, around a third of all food produced is lost or wasted, which contributes between 8 and 10 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions.

That’s why we would like you to understand the true value of food and waste as little as possible. Here are 10 things you can try to stop wasted food feeding climate change and save up to £210 every year:

  1. It’s a date! ‘Use by’ is about safety – food should not be eaten after this date (even if it looks/smells fine). 'Best before’ is about quality – although food won’t be at top quality after this date, it will still be safe to eat for some time.
  2. Compleat. Always binning crusts and broccoli stems? Over two-thirds of the food we waste is perfectly edible, so using every edible bit of your food (‘compleating’) is essential. Try leaving the skin on when you make mashed potato – this will save you time as well!
  3. Chill the fridge out. The average fridge temperature in UK homes is nearly 7°C, but foods will last longer if they are kept at under 5°C. Not sure how to adjust your fridge temperature? Love Food Hate Waste can help.
  4. Perfect portions. Hands up who has ever found themselves with far too much rice or pasta? It’s easy to do, but there are simple ways to cook the perfect amount. For example, a mug filled with dry rice will cook enough for four adults.
  5. Snap a shelfie. If you’re not a fan of shopping lists, take a picture of your fridge/cupboard shelves before you head to the shops instead. This will stop you from buying something you’ve already got at home.
  6. Savvy storage. Most fruit and veg will stay fresher for longer in the fridge. The key exceptions are bananas and pineapple (keep these on the counter), and onions and potatoes (which should be kept in a cool, dark, dry place – like a cupboard!). Not sure where something should be stored? Try this handy Food Storage A–Z!
  7. Freeze up to the ‘use by’ date. All foods with a ‘use by’ date, including meat, can be frozen right up to this date. This is especially helpful if your plans change at the last minute – before you order an emergency takeaway, check your fridge for anything that can be frozen for another day.
  8. Ice-cube tray – the freezer hero. Too much milk, not enough time? Pour your remaining milk into ice-cube trays and freeze – this is the perfect amount for a brew. You can use ice-cube trays to freeze fresh herbs, too. Chop them up, pop them in the tray, and top up with oil, and then you have easy portions to add to the pan next time you’re cooking.
  9. Use your loaf. Bread is another food that freezes beautifully. Put your sliced loaf in the freezer, and then you can pick out a slice at a time and toast straight from frozen. Extra tip: tap the loaf on the counter before you freeze it to stop the slices from sticking together.
  10. Unidentified Frozen Objects. Before you freeze your leftovers, label the bag/container telling you what’s inside and when you froze it.

Our Sustainable and Ethical Food Policy sets out the University's intention to minimise the impact of its catering operations on the environment and to promote sustainable practices. 

Our SMART targets monitor our progress against our policy's commitment to minimise the impact of catering operations on the environment. 

The University has achieved Fairtrade University Status and Fairtrade products including food are made available for sale in all campus food outlets You'll be able to see point-of-sale material in all relevant food outlets, highlighting Fairtrade products and providing information on the benefits of Fairtrade to growing communities.

The catering team is committed to increasing the use and sale of Fairtrade products and ingredients wherever possible. At the moment our catering outlets use 55 Fairtrade products and will continue to be actively involved in raising awareness of Fairtrade. A full list of our Fairtrade range and more information about our Fairtrade work is available on the Fairtrade webpage

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