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Our Journey Towards an Environmentally Friendly Hospital Menu

A greengrocer's display of a multitude of fresh fruit and vegetables

As part of its target to reach zero carbon by 2040, NHS England has been developing environmentally friendly recipes to be tested at select hospital sites. We're delighted that Mildmay has been selected to be a pilot centre to launch a low-carbon menu.

Our project plan, led by Mildmay's Specialist Dietitian DT 25287, Kattya Mayre-Chilton, was to develop a brand-new, low-carbon, environmentally friendly menu that tastes good, is nutritionally balanced, and supports the well-being of patients and the environment.

During our time on the project, we conducted preliminary research on both patients and staff to ascertain their opinions, values and perceptions of the current menu provision. This research was utilised to help develop the brand new environmentally friendly menu.

We also ran a staff-wide survey to learn more about the staff's current views on sustainability, their current environmental practices, beliefs, barriers and perceptions. This then helps the trust identify future opportunities to become a more environmentally friendly hospital.

It was our role to review and select the most appropriate low-carbon and environmentally friendly recipes that would meet the nutritional and well-being needs of the Mildmays patient group.

Food provision contributes up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, and 70% of all human water use is for our food system. Selecting these recipes that have reduced carbon footprint and utilise less water makes real impactful changes.

Working in collaboration with the catering team, NHS England dietitians and chefs and with the continual support of our supervising dietitian, Kattya, we have conducted a cost analysis to show that low-carbon recipes are not only better for the environment but do not cost more, we have shown that by adding more sustainable fish and meat and having lots more plant-based dishes it can improve the wellbeing of our patients.

Charlotte Turner

Registered Nutritionist and Student Dietitian

Portrait photo of Charlotte Turner, Registered Nutritionist and Student Dietitian

This is my final public health placement as part of the Masters in Dietetics at Kings College London. It has been a privilege to be working on such an innovative and impactful initiative. It has been a pleasure to be given the responsibility to help develop the new low-carbon menu and to be working alongside the NHS England chefs and dietitians to help collaboratively work toward reducing carbon emissions of the NHS within their food and catering industries.

I look forward to seeing the new winter menu roll out this Winter - a massive thank you to Kattya for overseeing this project and giving us this great opportunity.


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