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We endeavour, where possible, to use food suppliers with an ethical approach to foodservice with reduced packaging and box collection services. we will also attempt to source all of our meat and dairy from ethical sources and will continue to purchase only free-range eggs [and products which use free-range]. We only source our fish from Marine Conservation Society accredited fish stocks. We also like to work closely with local suppliers to help reduce our food miles and support local economies, this has a double edge with quality and our customers are starting to demand this as the norm.

We are MSC certified and are audited yearly to ensure we are sourcing our produce sustainably.

Fresh home cooked food is top of our agenda, and here at the University of Chester Catering Services, we have the capability to offer seasonal menus and change dishes to use the best products in season, which again ensures good flavour profiles and the ability to adjust if seasons run late. Activities such as collecting herbs grown on campus, using vegetables from the student led University allotment, as well as apples from the University trees, not only work towards more sustainable foods, but also energises our team to use the foods they have collected and gives them pride in the dishes they present. 

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Edible Garden at Exton Park

The University of Chester is a member of TUCO (The University Caterers Organisation), and has been for over 30 years. TUCO reco

gnise that food and sundry commodity choices have potential to influence a healthy lifestyle incorporating: People, Profit and Planet (3Ps). The majority of our food suppliers are appointed under the TUCO frameworks, with sustainability being embedded into all of their activities, including procurement and relevant documents. TUCO and its members meet regularly to discuss sustainability initiatives, sharing best practice, developing sustainable principles and embedding them into all aspects of TUCO's core values.

Sustainable Palm Oil

Chester Zoo launched its campaign to make Chester the first Sustainable Palm Oil City in the World in October 2017.

The University of Chester was awarded Sustainable Palm Oil City champion status by Chester Zoo, as part of its campaign to create a demand for sustainable palm oil in August 2018. In March 2019 Chester Zoo announced that Chester had become the first Sustainable Palm Oil City in the world.

The University’s catering team worked closely with its suppliers, to ensure that every product sold across the institution’s catering outlets containing palm oil comes from a sustainable source. The Catering team reviewed the ingredients list of all the food they buy for the University. They soon discovered that palm oil was a hidden ingredient in many products and external suppliers could not always trace its source, when asked. It was very difficult to trace the source of palm oil in pre-packaged foods.

Our commitment to the palm oil project and our champion status within that, have helped to raise the profile of sustainable palm oil in the higher education sector, including the University’s interaction with The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO). The Catering team were awarded the Sustainability Award at the annual TUCO Awards 2019.

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Sustainable Palm Oil Champion


Chester was first granted Fairtrade status in January 2002, and the University of Chester’s first achieved its own Fairtrade status in 2007, and has maintained this for 12 years. As part of our Fairtrade University status we continue to review Fairtrade products available at outlets across the institution. Promoting and supporting Fairtrade Fortnight is an integral part of the Green Impact workbook and a lot of Bake Sales!

The University believes greatly in the values of Fairtrade and is therefore committed to helping the University, and the City of Chester maintain its Fairtrade status. We seek to educate people about the positive values of the Fairtrade movement so that we can hopefully inspire staff, students and the local community to factor in ethical sourcing when purchasing goods. The University has signed up to, and is actively taking part in the Fairtrade Universities and Colleges Award 2020-22.

You can find out more about the Fairtrade Foundation here.

Kale Yeah!

Meat and dairy production, particularly from intensive systems, has a huge impact – on the planet, on climate emissions, our health and animal welfare.

In the UK we eat twice as much meat as the global average. Government advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, recommends  that we reduce the consumption of all meat and dairy by 20% by 2030, and by 35% by 2050. 

Kale Yeah! is a sustainability scheme that encourages and promotes a more plant-based diet. Over the past 7 years we have worked hard to reduce the amount of animal products across all of our menus with sustainability being at the forefront of the operation. We are now working alongside Kale Yeah! to continue our transition towards a more plant-based offering. We regularly speak with staff and students to educate them in healthy eating and plant-based alternatives, and the benefits this could offer them. We have a ‘meet the suppliers’ day to introduce the suppliers to our students and show the food providence, and every Friday we have ‘free fruit Fridays’ which is an initiative to ensure that all students receive a free piece of fruit which can be collected from any one of our outlets.

Food Waste

The University of Chester’s Catering Services have been working very hard to reduce the amount of food waste that is created, either from the preparation of food, or from excess plate waste. All food waste from Catering Services on Exton Park is recycled within the onsite Biotech Seed Food Digester, that uses enzymes to break down food and safely flush away, with all other Catering locations recycling food within the food bins provided, meaning that no food ends up within the general waste stream. Catering Services have recently made a number of changes and improvements to their operations to help reduce the amount of food waste. Some of these were a plate waste project with students, with the end result being the introduction of smaller plates being used, which led to a decrease in the amount of plate waste being leftover. There were also menu changes introduced which encouraged the repurpose of ingredients being used, as well as increased staff training and awareness around portion sizes and food waste. The result of all of this hard work, has seen a reduction in food waste at Exton Park of 47.13%.

Food waste is now also being limited even more by making food to order, and we are currently working on our ‘Too Good To Throw’ scheme. Any meals that are left at the end of service will be available for students or staff to buy at a reduced cost to try and further reduce food waste across all sites.



Drop 'n' Swap

We are now pleased to announce that disposable coffee cups will no longer be available to purchase from any of our outlets! The United Kingdom gets through 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups every year, which is responsible for the felling of 1 million trees, as well as using up 1.5 billion litres of water to make these cups.

We recognised this was a huge problem, and our Drop ‘n’ Swap campaign went live in October 2020. You simply pay a one-off £1 fee to join and pick up your eco food container or cup. Once you’ve finished with it, you return your non-disposable container or cup to any university catering outlet, which will also earn you points for some great rewards.