Encore Food for Life Award at GCU


Soil Association recognises Encore’s fresh and healthy meals at Glasgow Caledonian University –

Encore Hospitality Services, for the second time this year, has won national recognition for the standard of its catering services, this time at Glasgow Caledonian University.

The Soil Association Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark was awarded to Encore, the external contract catering business of Cordia, the arm’s length external organisation (ALEO) formed by Glasgow City Council to run its frontline services.

Encore has achieved the award for the 222,000 meals they serve every year in two of their six venues at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

Encore has been providing the catering in GCU for almost 13 years, and is currently halfway through its third contract with the university, all of which have been won through competitive tenders.

In March of this year, the company earned the Gold Catering Mark for their work in the Emirates Arena Café, a Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games venue. It was the first leisure facility in the UK to do so.

The Food for Life Catering Mark is a unique UK-wide scheme which provides an independent endorsement that food providers have taken steps to improve the food served, using fresh ingredients which are free from undesirable additives and GM, and better for animal welfare.

More and more people are becoming concerned about where their food comes from and how it has been produced. The Catering Mark is a symbol of trust and a guarantee of fresh food across public and private sector catering.

The Bronze, Silver and Gold levels offer a step-by-step route to using more local, free range, organic and fair-trade ingredients to provide healthier menu choices.

Encore serve 1,100 hot meals in the Hamish Wood and Staff Dining areas daily, which adds up to more than 222,000 every year, and includes products such as:

  • Free range eggs from cage-free hens
  • Meat from farms which satisfy UK animal welfare standards
  • A wide variety of seasonal ingredients
  • Meals which contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats

Encore provides catering at many Glasgow landmark venues, including the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, the Royal Concert Hall and the Old Fruitmarket.

Frank McCabe, Encore’s catering manager at Glasgow Caledonian University, said:

“We are all extremely proud to be awarded the Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark, and it is excellent to have all our hard work and efforts recognised.

“Providing university staff and students with healthy options is something which we have worked very hard towards and this award is testament to the excellent Encore team we have here at Glasgow Caledonian University.”

Laura Stewart, Director Soil Association Scotland said:

“I’d like to congratulate Encore on their continued commitment to providing their customers with fresh, healthy and seasonal food. Encore was the first Leisure Facility in the UK to be awarded the Gold Food for Life Catering Mark for the Emirates Arena Café, and now is among only a handful of Caterers in the UK who have been awarded for part of their University food offering, and only the second in Scotland.

“It’s thanks to the Encore team’s hard work and commitment to serving their customers great food, that they have been recognised with a second Food for Life Catering Mark, and we look forward to working with Encore to expand on their outlets that are serving Catering Mark approved meals in the near future.”

The movement to improve catering across the UK Glasgow Caledonian University joins a growing number of venues leading the way in improving private and public sector catering across the UK. Currently over 730,000 Catering Mark meals are served every day, including around 25,000 in Scotland.

The Catering Mark standards

The following details the standards which have to be achieved to attain each level of the Food for Life Catering Mark

Food for Life Catering Mark menu criteria include:


  • Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
  • 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
  • All meat is from farms which satisfies UK animal welfare standards
  • All eggs are from cage-free hens
  • Menus include seasonal ingredients
  • Training is provided for all catering staff
  • No GM ingredients are used
  • Free drinking water is provided
  • No fish are served from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) ‘fish to avoid’ list.
  • Information is on display about food provenance.
  • All suppliers have been verified to ensure they apply appropriate food safety standards.
  • Caterers in schools, early years and residential care settings can demonstrate their compliance with national standards or guidelines on nutrition.

Silver and gold

The silver and gold Catering Mark standards are assessed on a points system. Food providers are rewarded for every percentage point of their ingredient spend on items including organic and free range animal products, locally sourced ingredients and steps to offer healthier menus.

The points system maintains rigorous principles for environmentally friendly, local and healthy food, yet offers increased flexibility to recognise food providers’ different strengths and priorities.

For more information about the Food for Life Catering Mark, visit www.sacert.org/catering