On your marks, get set, grow

A review of food across the London 2012 programme

April 2010

Tags: food

The Commission’s report praises the work done by London 2012 in linking food and sustainability. This is the first Summer Games to make such a connection.

The report identifies a number of positive food achievements such as LOCOG’s Food Vision, which sets out plans to provide healthy, affordable and sustainable food during the Games and to celebrate of the diversity of British cuisine through on-site catering.

The Commission sets LOCOG the challenge of ensuring that these aspirations are delivered.

Key Findings

  • ODA commended for improving catering standards for the Olympic construction and infrastructure workers
  • ODA assesses Tier 1 contractor’s caterers with a Food Safety and Sustainability Scorecard. Criteria assessed include:
    • use of unprocessed foods, seasonal fruit and vegetables
    • sourcing high animal welfare meat, eggs and dairy produce
    • Rainforest Alliance / Fairtrade drinks, chocolate, sugar and fruit
    • avoiding use of fish from endangered stocks, and
    • offering vegetarian or vegan options
  • The Commission calls for this success to be translated into a template that can be used on any large UK construction site
  • LOCOG published its Food Vision, which includes benchmark standards that it expects caterers to comply with and aspirational standards that it is seeking caterers to meet
  • This sends a clear signal to the food services industry on what LOCOG expects for plant-based produce, dairy produce, eggs, meat, fish and seafood, and expectations around food safety and hygiene, choice and balance, skills and education
  • Olympic Sponsors McDonalds, Coca Cola and Cadbury have made considerable efforts to reduce the social and environmental impacts of their products and all three have also signed up to the LOCOG Food Vision
  • The Commission recommends exploring greater opportunities for growing food on the Olympic Park after the Games
  • The OPLC should follow the Athletes Village by implementing a food growing strategy to enable the Park to be ‘retrofitted’ for food-growing, making it easy for residents and businesses to access healthy and sustainable food
  • The Commission will continue to monitor food as part of its remit and looks forward to:
    • the Food Vision being delivered when procuring caterers
    • continued activity of LOCOG’s Food Advisory Group in supporting delivery of the Food Vision
    • the development and launch of the London 2012 Food Charter


  • The ODA should contribute to the Learning Legacy from the Games and write up case studies for contractor catering so that the approach can be adopted on other construction sites.
  • The OPLC should develop detailed design guidance for developers on how to incorporate food growing into their development plots, along the lines of the guidance developed for the South East False Creek  in Vancouver, site of the 2010 Winter Games Athlete’s Village. This could be applied more widely to other developments in London by the GLA.
  • Future development in the Olympic Park, led by the OPLC, should follow the example of the Athletes Village for which there is a draft Food Strategy that can be implemented over time as the homes are occupied and if the community demonstrates an interest in growing their own food. This would ensure that the development is futureproofed and can enable food growing to be ‘retrofitted’. This should also include facilities to make it easy for residents and businesses to access healthy and sustainable food.

Whilst not a formal recommendation, the report sets out the following key requirement to ensure LOCOG can achieve its Food Vision

  • The Food Advisory Group will need to be resourced to provide support, challenge and expertise to ensure that LOCOG can seek a high level of performance from its caterers and to keep LOCOG uptodate with industry best practice.

This will include:

  • Evidence to support the aspirational standards in the Food Vision
  • Identification of risks around food sourcing and measures that can be taken to minimise these
  • Information about catering-related sustainability issues
  • Identification and development of legacy supply chains and markets after the Games for sustainable food consistent with the Food Vision
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