Anglia Crown is delighted to announce it is spearheading an industry working group to help raise awareness of the daily issues faced by hospital caterers.
The first meeting will be held at the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) forum in Belfast 6-7 April and industry influencers are being invited to join.
See below for full release
Of the initiative, Paul Howell, head of commercial Anglia Crown, said:
“Delivering nutritious and appetising patient food is essential. We believe food in hospital is part of the clinical care of each patient and makes up an important part of their recovery.
“We are setting up the working group to raise awareness of the real-life circumstances that every caterer and each hospital has to work under. Fewer hospitals than ever have in-house cooking facilities or the funds to maintain these and many more caterers now operate under private finance initiative (PFI) contracts.”
“Hospital caterers do not choose the environment they work in and they do not have the power to change it. What they can do is provide the most nutritious and economically viable meal solution within the confines they work in.”
“Chilled and frozen prepared meals offer a multitude of benefits to catering operations, including supporting caterers to meet wide ranging menu requirements, waste management and reduction, nutrition, special dietary requirements, financial targets and provide consistent all year-round supply.”
A point reinforced by the British Dietetic Association (BDA), who in their response to a Sustains report; Taking the Pulse of Hospital Food, 23rd March notes:
“From an evidenced based perspective, the provision of meals from offsite sources has been shown to meet and exceed all targets for menu diversity and food hygiene. All such meals are regularly and rigorously tested and audited.”
“It is misleading to suggest that meals prepared on site are by definition better quality. Quality will depend on the quality of the ingredients and the ability of the catering team preparing the meals.”
“The BDA highlights that it is very difficult to supply the variety of meals required by using largely local, freshly sourced ingredients. Regardless of price implications, the public in any setting expect a range of meals and snacks that include ingredients sourced from around the world, and available throughout all seasons.”
And in their response to the proposals in the Sustain report, the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA) also notes;
“Although this report highlights some positive examples, it appears to give a narrow view of what services should be like and does not fully consider the constraints hospital caterers have to work under.”
Of the report, Howell concludes:
“We strive to improve patient food every day, and welcome all initiatives to achieve that, however recommendations must be placed in the context of the current climate. Many hospitals do not have central kitchens and therefore would automatically struggle to comply if cooking on site was put into law, as the report suggests. There would be no means of them working to achieve such standards, if the infrastructure is not available to them.”
“The report supports British produce and at Anglia Crown we already procure from many well-known British suppliers, for example, mashing two tons of British potatoes daily at our UK manufacturing site in Colchester.”
“The working group is a great opportunity for the industry to get behind the big issues and scope out what can be achieved to continue providing high standards within hospital catering.”
The working group will seek to recognise the diversity of NHS catering nationally, and the solutions available within those environments.
Invites will be going out this week to the first meeting, with positive support anticipated.
The HCA forum will be held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on 6-7 April. Interested parties should contact Paul Howell at Anglia Crown.