Caterers serving athletes and spectators at next year’s Commonwealth Games will have to sign up to a “food charter” to encourage healthy eating, organisers announced yesterday.
Anyone supplying food at Glasgow 2014 venues must comply with strict standards which not only ensure that food is safe and of high quality, but also help in efforts to improve the nation’s eating habits.
The move will see venues which traditionally offer sports-goers burgers and pies also serving up salads and fresh sandwiches.
And companies bidding for contracts at the Games will have to commit to using local, Scottish produce, where possible, and also making sure their products can be traced to their source.
The charter encourages Fairtrade, organic and in-season produce, and says genetically modified materials should not be used. Caterers must also sign up to limit packaging of food and reduce waste to a minimum as part of efforts to protect the environment.
The rules apply both to companies supplying food at Games venues for spectators and staff and to those feeding the athletes and their support teams.
Speaking at the launch of the charter at Scotstoun Stadium in Glasgow, Craig Lear, Glasgow 2014’s head of catering, said while they were encouraging healthy eating they would not be banning any particular foods from venues.
“It is about encouraging variety. We’re not saying that you won’t get a burger, because a lot of food at events is designed for fun as well,” he said.
“But what we are saying is that we will encourage variety, so people will have the opportunity to get salads and fresher options that aren’t necessarily available at other events.”
The charter states that the food on menus “will encourage a balanced diet and healthy choices”. It says caterers must keep levels of salt, sugar and fat to a minimum, ensure that fruit and vegetables are easily available and use healthier cooking practices such as grilling and steaming, rather than frying, where possible.
It also says suppliers should deliver “appropriate portion sizes in order to encourage responsible eating habits”.
Recognising that healthier foods are sometimes more expensive than less healthy products, Mr Lear said they wanted to make sure that the range on offer was good value for money.
He said they would work with caterers on the challenges they faced in providing fresh products with shorter shelf lives to make sure the food on offer was affordable.
Mr Lear said they hoped the event would also act as a showcase for Scottish food, promoting local produce and supporting businesses. But caterers woujld also, he said, work closely with athletes and their teams to make sure their food fitted specific needs.