Catering Services

Library cafeEnvironmental catering

What are we doing to help?

Our Catering Services recognises that we need to do our bit for the environment and ensure that we are encouraging healthy and sustainable food production. We make sure that we consider the environmental impact of our product and service selection processes while also carrying out our work in a socially responsible manner.

We encourage our suppliers to minimise negative environmental and social effects associated with the products and services that they provide. We will also strive to ensure that local and smaller suppliers are not discriminated against and that they are actively encouraged to participate in tendering opportunities.

Our House Rules

  • We always have, and always will use free range eggs and meat
  • All our milk is organic and local
  • Because we buy locally, we are members of Hampshire Fare
  • We care about what we put into your food and have the Soil Association Food for Life award in recognition of this
  • We only use sustainable fish from the MSC list
  • Because of this and more, we have been given a 3-star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association 

We don't waste food

We really try to minimise any food wastage around the University and make sure that as much of it is recycled as possible. Food recycling bins are available around campus and we also have a relationship with Portsmouth Food Cycle who cook and serve three-course hot meals from Kings Church in Portsmouth for members of the local community for free. We plan to avoid wastage by circulating products within our catering outlets across campus so that they are purchased and consumed before they go out of date. Our food wastage is currently less than 2%.

Carbon footprint

As part of the Defra-funded Rural Pathfinder Project, the Public Sector Procurement of Local food Project aims to increase the number of local farmers and producers supplying the public sector and thereby encourage diversity and business growth locally to the University. The Catering department is also working with local suppliers to consolidate orders and to reduce transport and delivery frequentness which will reduce carbon emissions.

Mug for life New mug for life

Staff will receive a 15 pence reduction on the price of a cup of fair-trade tea, coffee or hot chocolate when they use their 'mug for life' or their own cup, at one of the University's catering outlets.

The scheme hopes to encourage staff to be recycle conscious and help to reduce the number of plastic and paper cups used by the University each year.

When booking catering for meetings, staff can also choose a cups free option to get a reduced cost of tea and coffee if guests bring their own mugs.

Life Water

We stock Life Water in our cafes which funds clean water projects across the globe to help alleviate the World Water Crisis. Our previous work with ethical drinks brand, One Water, enabled us to help install a unique roundabout-powered 'playPump' in Africa so that while kids play, clean water is pumped out of the grounds into storage tanks for use by the community.

Life Water is also switching to canned packaging made from 70% recycled aluminium and is 100% recyclable. We also stock canned sparkling spring water called CanO Water.

Non-plastic alternatives

Milk crateHow we are cutting down on single-use plastic at the University: 

  • ‌Replacing single-use plastic milk sachets with glass milk bottles to save nearly 13,000 milk sachets a year
  • Changing plastic cutlery for bamboo cutlery to stop using between 10,000 and 15,000 plastic cutlery a year
  • Swapping plastic cold drink cups to eco-friendly corn starch cups to save nearly 60,000 cups a year
  • Use of large milk dispensers within University coffee shops instead of sachets
  • Trialling sugar cane platters and plates
  • Removal of plastic straws
  • Introduction of canned water sold in University catering outlets

Kale Yeah scheme

324 x 216in 2018 the University teamed up with Friends of the Earth to pilot a new loyalty scheme to encourage students and staff to eat less meat and more veg, which is better for the planet, our pockets and our health. The scheme offered a free meal for staff and students who bought 6 veggie or vegan meals in the University cafes. Over a period of six months the scheme had over 1,000 free meals claimed.  


The University prides itself on delivering a sustainable and environmentally-friendly catering service and has been recognised on multiple occasions for its commitment to the cause. Our awards include:

  • Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark (bronze) - The Catering Mark provides an independent endorsement that food providers are taking steps to improve the food they serve, using fresh ingredients which are free from trans fats, harmful additives and GM, and better for animal welfare. Caterers are audited to ensure they meet high standards of provenance and traceability, providing reassurance to customers that meals are freshly prepared using environmentally-sustainable and seasonal ingredients.
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association (3 stars) - An independently verified sustainability rating system that allows diners to choose a restaurant that matches their sustainability priorities. It recognises restaurants as one, two or three star sustainability champions depending on how they rate against a wide range of criteria.
  • Four Compassion in World Farming awards for the sole use of free range chickens and eggs, organic dairy products and pigs from higher welfare systems.
  • Good Dairy Award in 2011