University of Reading

Highly Commended

Giving Food More Thought™

Giving Food More Thought™ brings together academic staff and professional services to provide sector leading plated meal services to students, operated in a socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable manner.

Reading has worked to proactively buck the trend towards grab and go, café culture and street food in favour of plated quality meals on Campus. This addresses typical increases in waste, poor nutrition and social inequity and encourage others to make positive changes through expanding the Residential Catering and adopting the Menus of Change framework.

We were the first major UK Higher Education body to adopt and join Menus of Change Universities Research Collaborative. We have inspired around 25 other universities to adopt the framework, covering a conservative 50 million meals per year and changing eating habits for the better.

At Reading, this brings together the University’s catering services with its leadership in food-related academic subjects from Soil, Agriculture, Food Science, Nutrition, Consumer Health & Behaviour and Climate.

Annual carbon savings achieved with the initiative:
CO2t measured savings 2008-09 – 2020/21: 167,718 tCO2 saved cumulatively.

What the Judges Thought

Some good initiatives with wide collaboration and customer information around carbon footprint. Good evidence in production of plated food to minimum (high) standards. Judges liked the use of produce from university land.  

What it Means to Win

"We are absolutely delighted winning this award as it shows the exceptional work taking place at Reading both academically and in our Dining Rooms."

Professor Robert Van de Noort, Vice Chancellor

Top 3 Learnings

  1. Keep the aims simple. 
  2. Thinking and effort can be resourced from existing resources if the team are behind the idea.
  3. Follow your instincts and don’t worry what others are doing.
3 - Good Health and Well-Being 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
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