White Compass Logo

How Can Foodservice Companies Support Clients with their Sustainability Ambitions?

By Nicky Martin, Head of Nutrition and Celena Fernandez, Head of Environment, Compass Group UK & Ireland

Working with such a diverse range of businesses, whether that be feeding the workforce, patients or school children, we know we have a responsibility to operate sustainably and can make a real difference to people’s wellbeing too. That’s why Compass recently brought together a group of industry experts and clients to discuss two hot topics; single-use plastics and tackling the nation’s obesity crisis.  


Health and wellbeing

Compass has the opportunity to enhance the wellbeing of millions of our customers and we are committed to doing this responsibly. Our long-term strategy has been aligned to the PHE research and goals and is broken down into; Better Nutrition Choices, Healthy Lifestyle, Allergen Control, Mental Health and Plant-Forward Meals.

Delegates at this event heard from Public Health England about the state of the nation and their current workstreams aligned to the childhood obesity strategy. Nestle spoke about the reformulation and innovation journey they have been on and The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD), spoke about the behavioural change interventions that have been proven to change purchasing behaviour in the workplace.

All speakers highlighted the public health challenges that obesity is having and what can be done to support people when eating out of home. And with over two-thirds of the population overweight or obese, it is clear food companies have an important role to play to support and educate consumers in their dietary choices; feeding customers nutritionally balanced meals, while also providing the choice and customisation they are looking for.

At Compass, our menus are carefully designed to ensure they are balanced; menu concepts are trialled by our in-house teams of Registered Nutritionists alongside our culinary teams to create bespoke menus that are tailored to our targeted consumer requirements. Alongside a specific range of healthier choice options, current trends such as the increasing popularity of plant-forward meals are also considered in our menu planning.

The audience heard how really simple changes to encourage healthier eating can make a big difference. For example, offering a balanced choice, reducing portion size and providing calorie information. Research has shown us for example, that the most effective method of making a difference is reducing portion size by 10%.

The session concluded with a panel discussion about changing people’s behaviours in the right way, recognising that as people are creatures of habit it’s important to help our customers make positive choices whether that’s through better labelling, education, or reformulation of recipes.


Single- Use Plastics

Single-use plastics is a hotly debated topic at the moment and at Compass, we are constantly looking to lead and implement changes wherever we can. We have recently launched an updated single-use plastics guide for our teams to help them understand where they can, and need to take action, which includes an update on our priorities and areas of focus for 2020.

This event therefore provided us with an opportunity to update our clients on the work we are doing in this area. Through a range of presentations and panel discussions, the audience heard directly from us alongside our industry partners and suppliers about our journey to reducing single-use plastics and maximise recycling.

The discussions at this event looked at how Government and industry are working together to tackle this issue and the role that suppliers, coffee cup companies, manufacturers and waste contractors have to play. As new members of the UK Plastics Pact, Compass invited WRAP, Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to talk about their principles and, in addition to reducing single use plastics, the importance of encouraging a circular economy rather than removing plastic entirely and creating a catalyst for other crises. For example, alternative materials, which on the surface may seem like a solution, could require more energy or increase carbon emissions during production or may be less likely to be collected for recycling.

Coffee cups are always a hot topic and panel discussion with Simply Cups, Costa Coffee and Bockatech looked at the work being undertaken in this area to find a solution through recycling, better collection systems, incentive schemes and different materials being used in the creation of the cups themselves.

Bunzl and Coca-Cola also took to the stage to update attendees on the innovation taking place in their businesses in relation to sustainable packaging and waste industry experts, SUEZ, talked about the future legislative landscape in relation to consistent recycling collections and deposit return schemes.

We are passionate about the environment and supporting the society in which we operate. Whilst we recognise that there is no one size fits all solution to these hugely complex areas this was an important opportunity to bring together clients, suppliers and leading industry experts, creating a forum for discussion, partnership and an opportunity to work together to help solve these issues.



Chair: Katherine Symonds-Moore, Founding Director, Brodie


Compass Group Speakers:

Morag Freathy, MD, Business and Industry

Shaun Fitzgibbon, Business Director, Restaurant Associates Group

Nicky Martin, Head of Nutrition, Compass Group UK & Ireland

Celena Fernandez, Head of Environment, Compass Group UK & Ireland


Guest Speakers health and wellbeing:

Sam Montel, Team Lead, Dietary Improvement, Diet, Obesity and Physical Activity

Eretia O’Kennedy, Senior Nutrition Scientist

Liz Read, Company Nutritionist, Nestlé UK & Ireland

Natasha Maynard, Nutrition and Scientific Affairs Manager


Guest Speakers single-use plastics:

Katy Mossop, Packaging Lead - The UK Plastics Pact, WRAP

Justin Turquet, Head of Sustainability, Bunzl Catering Supplies

Peter Goodwin, Founder and Managing Partner, Co-Cre8 and Simply Cups

Oliver Rosevear, Energy and Environment Manager, Costa Coffee

Chris Bocking, CEO & Founder, Bockatech, Corretto Cups

Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners

Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director, SUEZ UK

Richard McIlwain, Deputy Chief Executive, Keep Britain Tidy