In 2014, the View Cafe at RSPB Scotland's Loch Leven nature reserve became the first visitor attraction in Scotland to achieve the prestigious Gold Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association, an improvement from the Bronze they received in 2013, and the catering staff have continued to work extremely hard to maintain this standard.
Dougie Rutherford, the Catering Manager at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven, said: "We're delighted to have maintained our Gold standard. It's been a real team effort and none of it would be possible without Lynn Burns and the rest of the team here. We're passionate about producing great food while looking after wildlife and the environment. Our menu is simple, tasty and ethical and reflects the aims of the RSPB by trying to source food from places that help give nature a home such as organic farms."
The award guarantees that the cafe serves freshly prepared, homemade food using local produce which is free from harmful additives and is better for animal welfare. It also means at least 15% of an eatery's budget goes towards organic ingredients. Loch Leven goes well beyond that demonstrating a real commitment to serving sustainable food that supports wildlife. In 2014, the spend on organic ingredients was a huge 50%, but at the most recent inspection it had gone up to 70% making it one of the highest spends on organic ingredients in both Scotland and across the UK.
Angela Mitchell, Acting Director, Soil Association Scotland said: "Retaining the Gold Catering Mark for the second year running is a fantastic achievement and it's great to see View Cafe at RSPB Scotland Loch Leven gaining recognition for serving fresh and healthy meals made with seasonal, local and organic ingredients. Using organic ingredients supports increased biodiversity and wildlife - up to 50% more insects, birds and animals live on organic farms and it's a credit to the team at View Café that they incorporate such a high percentage of organic produce into their recipes."
Dougie added: "People often tell us that they love our food and we're very proud of that, but even prouder that we make this great food using ingredients farmed in a way that looks after birds and other wildlife, which is what the RSPB as Europe's largest nature conservation charity is all about."
The View Cafe is open every day except 25-26 December and 1-2 January from 10 am - 4 pm (hot food served until 3 pm). There is also a visitor centre, shop, nature trails, events and activities available. For more information call 01577 862355 or visit rspb.org.uk/lochleven.
1. The RSPB is the UK's largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
2. The Food for Life Catering Mark standards are:
· Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
· 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
· Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
· Eggs are from cage-free hens
· Menus are seasonal
· Training is provided for all catering staff
· No GM ingredients are used
· Free drinking water is available
· No endangered fish are served
· Information about where the food has come from is on display
· Suppliers meet food safety standards
· School caterers meet government guidelines for food and nutrition
Silver and Gold
The Silver and Gold Catering Mark Standards work on a flexible points system, which rewards every penny spent on ethical, environmentally friendly and local ingredients, and recognises steps to offer healthier menus.
· At Silver, at least 5% of ingredients are organic and a selection of local or UK produce is served. A number of steps are taken to make meals healthier.
· At Gold, at least 15% of ingredients are organic, a significant proportion of the ingredients caterers use must be from the UK or produced locally and further steps are taken to make healthy eating easier.
For more information about the Food for Life Catering Mark and a full list of organisations which have achieved it, as well as the latest meal numbers, please see our web pages: www.sacert.org/catering