Press Release

18 June 2021

Mitie and apetito innovate to cut carbon from the menu at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

  • Mitie has launched its first ‘low carbon menu’ for patients at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which will save up to 23 tonnes of CO2 a year
  • Designed in collaboration with its food partner apetito and St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the menu focuses on prioritising ingredients with a lower carbon footprint, such as poultry, fish and vegan options
  • Designed by dietitians, the new menu will ensure all dietary requirements – such as gluten free, vegan and easy to chew – continue to be catered for

From growing the crops and feeding the cattle through to packaging, transporting and throwing away waste, food-related emissions are estimated to account for over one third of the world’s greenhouse emissions1. In a move to minimise this impact, Mitie, together with its food partner apetito, has launched a new low carbon emissions menu for patients at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which will help save up to 23 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The specifically designed menu includes three different hot meal options for patients to choose from for each lunch and dinner. As well as providing ample variety for patients, the new menu prioritises ingredients with a lower carbon footprint, including poultry, fish and vegan options, to limit the impact on the environment. Assuming all options in the menu are equally popular with patients, a reduction of just 3 meat options a fortnight will save the equivalent to over 34 return flights from London to New York a year2, demonstrating that even small changes can have a significant impact on the environment, while still giving patients plenty of choice.

As well as saving carbon emissions, the menu has been reviewed by the Mitie and the St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s teams of dietitians to ensure that it continues to meet all the British Dietetic Association Standards and provides balanced and healthy meals. This includes offering patients a number of options – gluten free, easy to chew and low fat or low sodium plates – for people with special dietary requirements.

Every menu will also provide patients with information about the nutritional benefits of some ingredients, such as lentils and chicken, as well as their carbon footprint, to help patients identify options that are both healthy and environmentally friendly.

Moreover, all meal orders are made through Mitie’s specialist patient catering app, ensuring that the right number of plates are prepared, meaning less meals are thrown away and helping to further reduce the impact on the environment. All the food waste generated is sent to anaerobic digestion plants where it is transformed into compost for gardens and farms as well as biogas to help heat homes and businesses.

Following the roll-out of the new low carbon menu at St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Mitie and apetito will look to offer reduced CO2 meal options to their other NHS customers. With catering services accounting for around 6% of the NHS’s carbon emissions3, these efforts will play a key role in Mitie and apetito continuing to support the NHS with its objective of becoming net zero by 2040.

Alice Woodwark, Managing Director, Communities, Mitie, said:

“From the origin of ingredients to how meals are prepared, the food we eat has an impact on the environment. Combating climate change is a priority for both Mitie and the NHS, so we’re pleased to be working with our suppliers to help St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust cut its carbon emissions. We look forward to continuing to use our sustainability and catering expertise to keep finding new ways to help the NHS reach its net zero goal.”

Jenni Doman, Deputy Director, Estates and Facilities, St. George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“This is a significant commitment to delivering the overall green plan at St. George’s as well as national and NHS net zero carbon targets, while supporting an even more sustainable food service for our patients. We’re so pleased this has been a successful collaboration with all our partners and Trust teams and it shows what can be done in the NHS – an amazing achievement and we’re very proud to be one of the first NHS Trusts to lead the way.”

Lee Sheppard, Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy, apetito, said:

“We are committed to supporting our partners and the NHS to deliver Net Zero, whilst delivering an appealing and nutritious menu to patients. We are extremely proud to be at the forefront of delivering reduced carbon menus to the NHS and will continue innovating to help address the climate crisis.”

Notes to editors

  1.  Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Food systems account for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions
  2. Based on an economy-class return flight from London to New York, emitting an estimated 0.67 tonnes of CO2 per passenger. BBC News, Climate change: Should you fly, drive or take the train?
  3. NHS, Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service

About Mitie 

Founded in 1987, Mitie’s job is to look after places where Britain works and is the leading facilities management company in the UK. We offer a range of services to Central Government and Defence customers; Communities (Healthcare, Education and Local Authorities); and Technical Services(Engineering Services, Energy, Water and Real Estate Services) and Business Services (Security, Cleaning and Office Services) to Private Sector clients in Financial Services, Manufacturing, Transport, Retail and Telecoms and increasingly to the public sector. Finally, our Specialist Services (Care & Custody, Landscapes and Waste Management) division serves both the public and private sector in higher margin niche businesses. 

Mitie acquired Interserve’s FM business in December 2020 and now employs 77,500 people we are the champion of the ‘Front-Line Heroes’ who have kept Britain working during the COVID-19 pandemic. We take care of our customers’ people and buildings, through the ‘Science of Service’, delivering essential services and deploying industry leading technology to create safe and effective workspaces. 

The business continues to execute its technology-led strategy and in the past six months has received multiple awards

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About St. George’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the largest healthcare provider, major teaching hospital and tertiary centre for south west London, Surrey and beyond – and one of the largest healthcare providers in the UK – serving a population of 3.5 million.

Its main site, St George’s Hospital – one of the country’s principal teaching hospitals – is shared with St George's, University of London, which trains medical students and carries out advanced medical research.

St George’s is one of 11 adult and children major trauma centres in the UK, one of eight hyper acute stroke units and one of the biggest and busiest of the eight heart attack centres in London.

It is also an accredited centre of excellence for trauma, neurology, cardiology, cancer and blood pressure services and is the national centre for family HIV care and bone marrow transplantation for non-cancer diseases.

About apetito:

apetito, is the UK’s leading creator and supplier of meals for the health and social care sector, partnering with over 450 hospitals and providing meals to over 40,000 patients every day. The company is renowned for its delicious and nutritious meals which enhance health and wellbeing of patients, including those who have special dietary requirements including food allergies or need a texture modified diet.

Each recipe is developed to meet precise nutritional standards – in line with the British Dietetic Association guidelines and Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering.  All apetito’s Texture Modified meals are IDDSI compliant.

apetito is a three-time winner of the UK’s highest business accolade, The Queen’s Award for Enterprise, awarded in 2016 for Innovation for its Texture Modified range, and most recently in April 2019 for Sustainable Development.   The company is proud to be an accredited Living Wage employer, and to operate in an ethical and sustainable way that respects the environment, people, and the wider community.