London and South East Branch

From David Wismann

On 25 January, the London and South East Branch held a much-awaited study day on the theme of ‘Delivering Today, Enhancing Tomorrow’.

Seventy-five delegates gathered in North London for learning sessions and some lunchtime networking. The event was sponsored by apetito, BGL Rieber, Burlodge, Delicious Ideas, EFoods, Hobart, Harfield Tableware, Healthy Foods Company, Freshfayre, Punjab Kitchen, Tideford Organics, and The Original Curry Company, who all exhibited on the day.

Phil Shelley started proceedings, discussing the importance of working together and engaging stakeholders throughout the Trust. The example from Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust highlighted how important it is to patients’ recovery for food to be available 24 hours a day, as well as at discharge. Delegates were encouraged to consider how innovation could help patients engage with the food and drink served to them, for example by using coloured crockery and anti-spillage mugs. Phil also touched on the importance of ‘the correct data’ and how this impacts reports such as ERIC.

Andy Jones provided a detailed insight into enhancing the NHS retail side of catering. His motto was, ‘be dynamic, be on trend, incentivise staff and try new things.’ He said that taking the Last 9 Yards approach to staff facilities will benefit the entire catering operation and increase profitability. Delegates were also encouraged to actively promote their staff facilities on social media.

After a short break, during which delegates visited the stands and networked, Sadaf Saied from the British Dietetics Association led the attendees through an energising exercise aimed at calculating calorie intake and making sure these comply with the NHS ‘eat well guide’.

The second part of the morning was focused on the topical subjects of sustainability and waste reduction. Laura Hardman, Sustainability and Ethical Trade Manager at apetito, outlined the importance of food standards in healthcare and how these are addressed within the global and local context of sustainability development goals. It was uplifting to hear that our Government is actively involved in this arena, working with several professional organisations. The fundamentals of waste reduction, ethical sourcing and across-the-market partnership had everyone listening very closely.

Lunch and networking followed, and then the afternoon was all about sustainability. Adrian Roper, Development Manager at Soil Association Food for Life, could not have started the afternoon any better when he mentioned the Green Kitchen Standard, now rolled out across the country. It was uplifting to see it is an organisation that recognises that waste reduction touches every aspect of our lives and provides useful toolkits on how to tackle it.

A joint presentation by WRAP/Trifocal was the perfect end to a fabulous day. Eleanor Morris (WRAP) and Katharine Fox (Trifocal) captured our attention with their presentation on food waste reduction and the support they can offer. The delegates were surprised to find out how easy it can be to monitor and address where the waste is occurring.

The London and South-East Branch is very grateful to the exhibitors and speakers. Without their support this day would not happen and we certainly do not take it for granted.

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