Soil Association’s catering mark encourages thought about health promotion at work

Photo by Little Li via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

Photo by Little Li via Flickr, under Creative Commons Licence

Health promotion at work is one of the five core commitments in the Government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal. With diet related ill-health costing the NHS £10.9 billion per year, the Government is determined to see companies take steps to improve health and wellbeing at work. Many organisations are pledging to serve healthier food by signing up to the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark, an independent guarantee that food served to staff is freshly prepared, free from harmful additives and trans fats, and better for animal welfare.

The scheme was developed to recognise best practice amongst food providers and to celebrate and support those taking steps towards improving people’s diets. The scheme is growing rapidly – over 800,000 catering mark meals are served daily in the UK in a range of settings outside the home including schools, hospitals, universities and organisations. The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers reward the use of organic, free range and local products, and recognise measures taken to make healthy eating easier. By achieving the award, organisations are able to demonstrate their commitment to employee health and wellbeing, and can help staff make healthier food choices at work thus helping to increase staff productivity, engagement and attendance.

It is simple for organisations to apply for the Food for Life Catering Mark and some find that they are already meeting many of the catering mark standards with the food they serve in the workplace. Once the catering mark has been achieved, tools and marketing support are provided by the Soil Association to help companies promote the award to the media, customers and staff. The Soil Association is offering a free consultation to companies who are interested in achieving the award. For more information, see the Soil Association’s website or email

Or for information on protecting the health of people at work or supporting those who are already suffering from health conditions that are affecting their ability to work, view the resources on the Health for Work Adviceline website.

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