b'SCHOOL CATERINGEAT YOUR GREENSWhat has become clear, post-COVID, is that school caterers must embrace the green revolution. What lessons can they learn from the past year or so? Carla McKenzie reportsIn Spring 2020, we faced a perfect storm across theTeams will balance finance, quality, and carbon whole hospitality industry: and that includes the diningemissions when considering business plans.halls of independent schools.Buildings, particularly kitchens, will be built to improve their passive state, reducing the overuse of Brexit had started to impact on the supply chain andmechanical additions.was beginning to give us problems in staffing. Then, atMenus will note carbon emissions to allow students 13:00 hours on March 26, the Prime Minister closed theto make an informed choice.country down. The pandemic was taking hold and there was no other option.The second lesson: shorten your supply chainNow Brexit, COVID closed borders and driver shortages Most contingency plans did not foresee a globalhave placed an exceptional pressure on the transport pandemic. There was a great deal of heroicindustry. We often forget that delivery is part of the improvisation: infection control and safety pipped allprice of food. These factors are likely to worsen as other agendas. A serious clap of appreciation to thehospitality opens and the demand increases. There are school catering teams, who did a brilliant job. It wastwo answers: in the short term, renegotiation; in the truly moving to see the level of commitment.long term, shortening the chain. However, among all the short-term solutions, aShort term, renegotiationpermanent and basic change took place. It was as if weThe contract catering industry has been hit by rising jumped forward ten years in just six months.transport costs. The price of commodities will increase in the short to medium term. Many contractors earn I want to highlight three key aspects of the future thattheir fees through discount returns from suppliers. Its suddenly became the present.important to ensure that prices stay fair and offer value The first lesson: go Greenfor money:Benchmark commodity prices regularly. This can be Technology to improve communication was adapted atdone through consulting practices. incredible speed. Whether you Zoomed, met on Teams,If youre considering outsourcing your catering in or hung out at Google, the world was transformed.return for an injection of capital, be aware that there Previously many of us had spent our lives on the road,is a heightened nervousness in this market. This is burning carbon. Now area catering managers andleading in some cases to smaller capital offers. If you directors were suddenly able to be more effective;do accept capital, repayment of this will generally be travelling less and achieving a better work/life balance.via the procurement match. Catering teams across different schools found an easierReview your purchasing strategy to get the right way to share best practice and collaborate. The planet benefited hugely.balance between local and national supply. You may need both. However tempting a one-stop The next generation, backed by their parents, will drivedeal might look, it can risk creating a single point of this change further. Its a great time to create a greenfailure.plan for your catering department. Future trends will see:Long term, shorter chainsAn increase in plant-based eating. Theres never been a better time to shorten your supply Natural gut health as a staple of future nutritionchain and support your local suppliers. You could programmes. even follow the lead set by some of the best country The circular economy, particularly with regard to foodrestaurants and put aside some space for your own waste, will become non-negotiable.kitchen garden (though were not proposing that you Recycling, repurposing and repairing equipment willplough up the cricket field!).be part of any project. Here are some more ways to reduce food miles without Electric kitchens powered by sustainable methodslosing quality:will be commonplace. www.independentinsight.netIwww.iexcellence.co.ukIwww.i25awards.co.uk 25'