Sustainable Food Policy

Sustainable Food

Sustainable food isn’t only about the food itself. It’s a combination of factors including how the food is produced, how it’s distributed, how it’s packaged and how it’s consumed.

Food miles, or how far a food has travelled, plays a large role. But it’s a whole lot more complicated than that.

When considering the sustainability of food there are many other factors at play. Resource usage, environmental impact and animal agriculture all affect sustainability. As do health considerations and social and economic impact.

Why is it important?

As worldwide population grows, so does the requirement for food, and therefore the impact this has on our environment.

Partaking in sustainable food practices ensures a business or home has a low environmental impact. Sustainable food aims to avoid damaging or wasting natural resources. It minimises the contribution to climate change as it often means eating more local food which is not transported too far.


Our Food Sustainability Policy

Abertay University Commercial Services recognise their responsibility to provide healthy and sustainable food and drink to their customers. We will work to incorporate environmental, ethical and social considerations into the products and services provided. We will also work alongside our suppliers and contractors to reduce any harmful environmental, ethnic and social effects associated with the products and services we provide.


Our Suppliers

Most of our suppliers are nominated and regulated through our membership of TUCO (The University Caterers’ Organisation) and APUC (Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges):

We aim to ensure all our food products are locally sourced, in fact all our food suppliers are located in Scotland and 60% of our weekly deliveries come straight from Dundee.

We tend to choose Fairtrade-certified products for food and drinks imported from poorer countries when possible to ensure a fair deal for disadvantaged producers.

Streamlining of suppliers and deliveries to ensure they are kept to the minimum and the timing of them is governed by our available storage facilities for retaining stock. We have reduced our number of Food suppliers by 22% since 2020, and order non-food supplies in bulk to reduce delivery frequencies.


Our Commitments


  • We encourage our customers to bring reusable mugs in our coffee shops offering a 20p discount incentive per cup of coffee ordered.
  • We sell reusable mugs made from natural rice husks not plastic.
  • We offer a huge variety of plant based milk alternatives in both our coffee shops, and for our hospitality services.
  • We stock sugar free alternatives to all our fizzy juices.
  • All coffee across the campus served by the hospitality team is from Coffee Conscience. This Scottish based company offers Fairtrade beans and a percentage of revenue goes to community projects in the UK and abroad.
  • All catering services across campus offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. In fact, we have more than tripled the size of our vegan range in Annie’s, and increased our vegetarian selection by 30%. As standard we deliver a minimum of 40% vegetarian food items with all our food orders for hospitality.
  • We will encourage our clientele to only purchase what they plan to, and follow the 'say no to upsizing' campaign from the Scottish Government.


  • All our disposable coffee cups are fully compostable with compostable lids and are delivered from Planglow and Vegware.
  • Clear drinking cups for iced drinks or water are plant based and also fully compostable.
  • Paper plates and napkins are compostable.
  • We use paper straws rather than plastic.
  • Carry trays for hot drinks are made of cardboard
  • All plastic bottles sold are 100% recyclable, and most are also already made from recycled plastic
  • Our disposable cutlery is also made of plants and 100% compostable.
  • All containers used for Hospitality are washable and re-usable.
  • All deliveries across campus are done by our team using trolleys without the use of cars or vans.
  • We have almost eliminated all paper use through the department and are now recording all data on our laptops
  • All our menu boards and advertising material has been removed from tables
  • We will soon go even further by stopping advertising through posters and moving to digital only.

Energy use

  • We use Marco Ecoboilers only in our coffee shops.
  • We use Merrychef ovens to heat up paninis and toasties; these are faster than traditional panini grills and have a low power consumption on standby.
  • Our rest rooms are fitted with motion sensors for lighting, and toilets with flush controls.
  • Equipment is turned on only when necessary and off after use
  • Turn all non essential equipment off overnight and when an outlet is closed
  • Condense refrigerated stock at the end of any given day to reduce the number of fridges in use.


  • We have a zero food waste policy.
  • We are committed to minimising all food waste and carefully monitor portion control.
  • Food items on their expiry day are reduced by 50% in all areas.
  • Unsold items are given away to students on a daily basis.
  • Food waste, including coffee ground and compostable cups go into green compostable bags which are put in food waste bins and collected separately.
  • We work closely with our suppliers to improve packaging when possible.
  • There are clearly labelled recycling bins throughout the campus to ensure all waste is segregated and subsequently recycled.
  • Each outlet, inclusive of our Hospitality kitchen have a back of house recycling point with a dry recycling bin for cans, plastic and cardboard; and a food waste bin for compostable items and food.
  • We also have a separate container for glass waste in our Hospitality kitchen, and offer a used battery collection service in The Library Café.
  • Wrappers which are not recycled yet go into our general waste bins; note some of our cereal bars do come in fully compostable wrappers.


  • To ensure that our sustainability policy is adhered to, the Catering Manager covers all its aspects during induction.
  • Staff are regularly reminded and updated of any changes.
  • Communicate to the university and wider population through promotional guidance, product information and awareness campaigns.
  • Carry out sufficient monitoring of our sustainability targets and review our policy annually.


Commercial Services

Our Commercial Services department (previously known as the Student Centre) is responsible for the provision of food and drink across the campus. 

All food is bought in from reputable and local suppliers, plated up by our team in one of our kitchens, and delivered to clients in their requested meeting rooms, classrooms, or conference spaces.

Our department runs and manages The Library Café (Library Building), Annie’s Café (Cyber Centre), sources branded merchandise, and is responsible for the vending provision.

Contact details

Please email if you need more information.


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