The action and its aims
The Healthier Catering Commitment scheme helps food businesses to make small but impactful changes to product offerings and cooking methods. Businesses can get the award if they meet at least eight out of 22 criteria (including four mandatory ones), ranging from sugar, to salt, to use of oils and fats, portion size, healthier options, etc. The scheme aims to ensure those meals are as healthy as can be, often without the customer realising that changes have been made.
When it was introduced
The scheme was introduced in 2010.
Why it was needed
It was deemed necessary due to the high level of child obesity in London. Some 25% of London’s 8,000 fast food takeaways are within five minutes’ walk of a school, while 20% of adults and children eat take away meals at home at least once a week.
Who initiated it, who is involved
The Association of London Environmental Health Managers developed the scheme, which is supported by the Mayor of London and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. It is delivered by the London boroughs on a voluntary basis, by their environmental health practitioners. Wholesaler JJ Foodservice offers a discount on certain healthier ingredients to participating businesses.
Impacts to date
27 of London’s 32 boroughs now run the Healthier Catering Commitment through their environmental health teams. Some research suggests that participating takeaways see an increase in customer numbers.