There is no single agreed definition of sustainable food, but the following details the key areas of concern which we want to address as part of our sustainable food strategy: We define sustainable food as food that should be made in ways that:
Contributes to our local economies and sustainable livelihoods – both in the UK and in producer countries
Protect the diversity of both plants and animals (and the welfare of farmed and wild species)
Avoid damaging natural resources and avoid contributing to climate change
Provide social benefits, such as good quality food, safe and healthy products.
Our principles around the area of food sustainability are that we prepare food and drink that:
Is safe, healthy and nutritious, for all our clients
Provides a viable livelihood for farmers, processors and suppliers whose employees enjoy a safe and hygienic working environment whether in the UK or overseas
Respects biophysical and environmental limits in its production and processing, while reducing energy consumption and improving the wider environment
Respects the highest standards of animal health and welfare, compatible with the production of affordable food for all sectors of society
Supports rural economies and the diversity of rural culture, in particular through an emphasis on local products that keep food miles to a minimum
By having these as our guiding principles it means that we can:
Make decisions based on a balance between economic, social and environmental factors to achieve best value for money.
Take account of whole life costs where applicable to ensure sustainability and minimise impact on the environment.
Set specifications for products and services which include sustainable, renewable and recycled resources and processes and consider the end of life options to ensure minimal impact on the environment.
Comply with UK and local legislation relating to sustainability and the environment.
Encourage best practice in all areas of our purchasing
Work with suppliers and Wandsworth Council to encourage better processes and improvements to the supply chain and the products and services supplied.
Develop the use of Fair Trade and other ethically traded products and services wherever possible
Make seasonally available ingredients our priority so they are used where possible, to minimise energy used in food production, transport and storage
Exclude fish species identified as most at risk by the Marine Conservation Society, and only choose fish from sustainable sources, such as those accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council
Align our best practices and methods in line with our clients and their clients
Review our policy on a regular basis to ensure continual improvement.
How do we deliver locally on some of these principles?
Working in partnership with Wandsworth Council we have arranged for a recycling bank for glass and paper, cardboard, metal to be sited opposite our kitchen so we can recycle all glass that we remove after an event.
We work with our specialist oil supplier to ensure that all cooking oil used is removed and recycled when they deliver to us in Wandsworth
We are switching and have switchewd to more ethical suppliers. For example with tea, we now source our tea from a single source origin tea manufacturer in Sri Lanka – Dilmah Tea. We do this because we believe that this tea transcends all principles around fair trade in that the owners of the tea plantation manufacture the tea on dedicated tea estates. We can now trace the tea we serve at your venues right down to the tea estate in the beautiful tea hills of Sri Lanka! Our freshly ground coffee is also sourced as coffee beans and we have our own coffee grinder on the premises so when you order coffee not only is it fair trade but it is genuinely freshly ground to order.
As you can imagine, having deliveries of food in cardboard boxes means that we have a huge amount of cardboard that we need to dispose of at the end of the week. We have an arrangement whereby all our cardboard is cut down and stored and ready for collection and recycling. We also have an arrangement with local businesses in Wandsworth who re-use our waste cardboard for repackaging and manufacturing.
We do buy locally – e.g. all our fresh fruit and vegetables are supplied by a supplier who has premises less than 1 mile away. We arrange a delivery from him very early in the morning and his fruit is sourced directly from Covent Garden market and where possible, we buy British fruit and vegetables that are in season. Each time he delivers to us he then takes away the cardboard boxes and re-uses them for other deliveries to us and his other clients.
With reference to some of the ingredients we use, please see our list below of some of our core food ingredients:
Our chicken is cooked daily and to order by our chef and his team. We only use British farmed chicken in our kitchen and wherever necessary, we are able to provide halal or a kosher option as required. We offer a variety of fillings and where appropriate, our chicken is hand mixed with a unique mayonnaise that is made only to a recipe agreed between owen brothers catering and our local supplier.
We only buy whole traditional joints of British ham and have a specialist meat slicing machine which allows our teams to provide a high quality slice of ham at a thickness that is appropriate for the type of bread we are using. We only slice our joints of ham on the day we make our sandwiches and not before. Pre sliced ham with a sell by date- no thanks, we’ll stay with what we know best and with what our clients say tastes great!
Our butterfly Turkey breast is also British with no added water or any other additives of any kind. Again we roast these specialist cuts in our kitchens and we cook the Turkey breast to order when it is part of a sandwich order request. It is then hand carved on our own meat slicer and ready to be used for your sandwiches.
All our beef is British and farm assured. We hand select each joint from our meat supplier to ensure that we provide you with the best quality product. We like to make sure our roast beef is not too dry so we try and cook each joint to perfection in our large stainless steel ovens ( which we have also used for more than 20 years).
We only use whole fresh sides of salmon. Our own chefs fillet the salmon so we can choose exactly what cuts of salmon you would like. It is very important for us to be sure of our suppliers’ standards which is why traceability is one of our key areas when it comes to sourcing fish. We therefore only purchase fish from reputable suppliers who have signed up to the Marine Stewardship Council ( MSC ) – the MSC is a non-profit making organisation that promotes sustainable fisheries by using an eco-label to identify seafood products certified to its environmental standards. The MSC programme accounts for 42% of the Wild Salmon global catch and 32% of the prime Whitefish catch (Cod, Pollock, Hake, Hoki and Coley). In total, about 8% of the world’s edible wild capture (over 5 million tonnes) is part of the programme.
We buy all our Smoked salmon from 1 supplier only - we've been working with him for as long as we can remember as our Scottish smoked salmon is directly from the fast flowing waters of Scotland’s west coast. The salmon are from a lower density fish environment ( essentially means that there is more room for the salmon to swim around in rather than keep bumping into one another ) which gives our smoked salmon a better colouring and generally a healthier fish environment. This also means our smoked salmon is less ‘fatty’ and ‘oily’. The process of making our smoked salmon involves a combination of adding salt and then smoking the fish with oak chippings to give a distinct flavour. You’ll taste and see the difference in our smoked salmon and this is one of our signature sandwich fillings.
Did you know at Owen Brothers we only purchase free range eggs from our egg supplier and each day we boil approximately 300 eggs? We think our egg mayonnaise is one of the best in London. Why shouldn’t it be as we individually, hand peel each egg, slice each egg and then mix it with our unique blend of premium mayonnaise. We know that this is time consuming process but it means that your egg mayonnaise sandwich is as fresh tasting as possible. If you find a better mix let us know!
FRUIT & VEGETABLES
Our local fruit & vegetable supplier ( 5 minutes drive from our kitchen ) is a key partner to us. He is awake through the night and sleeps most of the day to ensure that we get the best and freshest vegetables and fruit direct from New Covent Garden Market. Whilst most of us are fast asleep, he is wandering around selecting the crunchiest apples to the plumpest red tomatoes. Each time he delivers to us he takes away all his cardboard boxes so they can be re-used or re-cycled.
OUR PREMISES & TRANSPORTATION
Our current Kitchen & premises in London have been established since 1986 and with the assistance of the local EHO, we designed and equipped the kitchen and storage areas. Our most recent food inspection from Wandsworth Council gave us the highest food hygiene rating of 5 Stars. To give you an indication as to the size of our premises it is approximately 3, 500 square feet. We have 3 large walk in fridges and a walk in freezer ( as well as further equipment for chilled and frozen food ), our own dedicated meat slicer, ice machines, coffee machines, commercial ovens, fryers and a large commercial dishwasher.
All our food is delivered in one of our refrigerated vans and food temperatures are monitored on each delivery. Since 2008 all vehicles delivering to central London require a minimum of Euro111 engines in line with London’s low emission policy, all our vehicles meet this requirement, and by 2017 all will be Euro IV. In some of our newer fleet we have a system in place whereby an automatic signal will flash on telling the our teams to change gear and be more green. In addition we even have our own fuel tank which holds 500 gallons of fuel so we don’t have to travel around burning up more fuel to fill up our vans.
If a venue has no recycling facility we will take away recyclable materials from your event and dispose of them in a responsible manner. We have our own facilities and arrangements for the recycling of glass and cardboard.
To achieve improvements in the sustainability of food at Owen Brothers Catering, training is provided involving caterers, managers, senior catering staff and our key front-of-house staff. For our key operational staff in our kitchen training focuses on how high quality fresh food can be prepared, served and ultimately disposed of, to maximise health and sustainability benefits.