Sustainable food policy

Updated on 18 March 2021

Find out how the Hospitality Services and the University are working towards sustainable food

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Conference and Hospitality Services (C&HS) Remit

Hospitality Services (previously Campus Catering) is the department within the University of Dundee responsible for the preparation and delivery of catering across the Dundee, Kirkcaldy and Ninewells campuses. The food for hospitality is prepared by the team in the Tower building on the 10th floor and is then delivered to meeting rooms, classrooms, conference spaces and offices in the three campuses.

In addition, the C&HS team also provide catering for any meetings and conferences which are arranged by members of staff at the university or by external clients.

Lastly, our department also runs and manages three cafés on campus:

  • Top of the Tower Café
  • Street Café at Life Sciences
  • Refectory at Kirkcaldy

The C&HS Services team at the university is proud to be recognised as a Fairtrade caterer.

Sustainable Food

There is no legal definition of 'sustainable food,' although some aspects, such as the terms Organic or Fairtrade, are clearly defined. The University of Dundee’s working definition for sustainable food is that it should be produced, processed, distributed and disposed of in ways that:

  • contribute to thriving local economies and sustainable livelihoods - both in the UK and, in the case of imported products, in producer countries
  • protect the diversity of both plants and animals and the welfare of farmed and wild species
  • avoid damaging or wasting natural resources or contributing to climate change
  • provide social benefits, such as good quality food, safe and healthy products, and educational opportunities

Sustainable food offering is one of the factors by which students and staff exercise choice when selecting their food suppliers. Healthier and organic food where possible has helped encouraging and educating our customers of the benefits of a healthy and sustainable lifestyle and impacts well-being and the environment.

Why is Sustainable Food Important?

Sustainable eating is about choosing foods that are healthful to our environment and our bodies. By paying attention to sustainable development, we can begin to balance the impacts of economic activity with its effects on society and the environment. The provision and service of food has a complex relationship with health and the environment, and the University of Dundee has a significant opportunity to create benefits for their students and staff.

What is The University of Dundee doing?

The University of Dundee’s suppliers are nominated and regulated through our membership of TUCO (The University Caterers’ Organisation) and APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges).

The preferred caterer for any events at University House is Wilde Thyme. One of the key factors when appointing Wilde Thyme was their passion for local food and the provenance of all their ingredients along with their Corporate Social Responsibility credentials.

The onsite Conference and Hospitality Services team at The University of Dundee is aware of the impact of environmental issues and does everything possible to reduce the impact with various initiatives:

Our Green Credentials


  • Wherever possible, the C&H team use local fresh and Fairtrade ingredients with menus meeting the Healthy Living guidelines
  • All hospitality, conferences and cafés on campus use Fairtrade tea and coffee.
  • All coffee across the campus served by the hospitality team is from Coffee Conscience. This Scottish based company offers Fairtrade beans (roasted in Dundee) and a percentage of revenue goes to community projects in the UK and abroad.
  • All soups use fresh ingredients, in most instances the soups are vegetarian and vegan.
  • All menus across campus offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options and we only use vegan mayonnaise, free range milk and free-range eggs.
  • Palm oil has been phased out of menus.
  • We are committed to minimising all food waste and carefully monitor portion control.


  • Coffee cups are fully compostable with compostable lids.
  • The paper plates and napkins are compostable.
  • The plastic containers which the food is delivered on (and plastic cutlery) are made from recycled plastic and are washed and reused and are also recyclable.
  • The Vegware drinking cups are compostable.
  • We use paper straws rather than plastic.
  • We serve water in refillable glass bottles free of charge with catering orders.
  • Water urns are used during conferences.
  • There is an option for soft drinks on the menu for hospitality and conferences to be in glass bottles.


  • Food waste goes into ‘Ecolander’ bags which are compostable and put in food waste bins.
  • Any general waste goes in clear bags and the University will not uplift them if there is any contamination in them, so the team are careful to make sure this does not happen.
  • We have introduced more recycling bins in the Dalhousie Building.
  • Any glass waste goes into dedicated glass skips for recycling Transport:
  • We use an electric van wherever possible (distance allowing) for all deliveries across the Dundee campus, Kirkcaldy campus and Ninewells Hospital.

An environmental review is completed regularly. In addition, the hospitality team is part of the Environmental Task Group which meets regularly to discuss best practices and implement any new initiatives.


The University of Dundee’s procurement team has a robust sustainability policy training

To ensure that the sustainability policy is adhered to, the Hospitality Manager ensures that it is covered in induction when there are new starts in the department. In addition, the policy is covered in on-going on-the-job training. The staff also have courses available via our Talent and Development department within the University of Dundee.


Helena Moffat

+44 (0)1382 384038