National recognition for DMU's sustainable Riverside Café


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De Montfort University Leicester’s (DMU) Riverside Café has been recognised for its high standards of ethics and sustainability.

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The university’s catering partner Chartwells has been awarded the ‘Food for Life Served Here’ standard for the café by national charity the Soil Association.

The charity works across the spectrum of human health, the environment and animal welfare, contesting harmful farming laws and researching ways to move away from current farming systems.

The standard rewards caterers for offering healthy, varied, innovatively produced and good quality food that supports the local economy and protects the environment.

To qualify, outlets need to ensure that animal welfare standards are met, fish has been caught sustainably and eggs are free-range. Food has to meet high nutritional standards and the majority of dishes on offer must be freshly prepared on-site.

The award is given only after a thorough audit by the Soil Association and is reviewed annually to ensure the strict standards are maintained.

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David Persaud, development manager for Food for Life Served Here, said: “It’s fantastic to see Chartwells and DMU taking their food seriously and putting real thought in to what they buy and where it comes from.

“For a caterer to open themselves up to such scrutiny shows they are rightly proud of what they are doing and making their customers and the planet their priority.”

DMU’s environmental and sustainability officer Karl Letten was ‘delighted’ with the rating and what it means for sustainability at the university.

He said: “It’s a real testament to our catering partners Chartwells. The university is committed to meeting the standards of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and this is a clear example of it working towards that.

“It’s fantastic to see that the university isn’t just embedding this in its teaching and research but also in day to day activities.”

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Contract Director for Chartwells at DMU Neil Satchwell, said: “The Riverside Café is our champion in what we are trying to achieve. We are focusing on wellbeing, mental health and lifestyle – and food is a very important part of all that.”

The award also reflects the excellent customer care given by the café.  Outlets must create inventive, interesting menus which cater for the varied dietary and cultural needs of their customers, and Neil believes that this is key to its success.  

“There is a fantastic amount of choice and everything is healthy. The food standard has always been very high, but it has become more than that. You can get a sense of the ethos just from walking in,” he said.

“It is a meeting place too, there is a sense of community. The café now hosts events like jazz bands in the evening and we get a really diverse clientele, from students to entrepreneurs conducting meetings. Because of that we have to cater for a lot of people; with different dietary requirements, religious beliefs and tastes.

“It’s amazing to be accredited, it is a great achievement – not just for Chartwells but specifically the staff who work so hard. They have really raised the bar and we are keen to take this forward and continue developing our ethical, sustainable approach through our strong partnership with DMU.”

The award is just one of many recent accolades for sustainability at DMU, as earlier this year it earned a prestigious place among the top 50 universities in the world for sustainability in the first ever Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings.

Posted on Monday 25th November 2019

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