Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO APPLY

Q Can I apply for just one site?
You can apply for the Food for Life Served Here Award for one site, or across your whole catering operation or restaurant chain. If you’re not sure which of your sites to apply for, get in touch with your regional Food for Life Served Here Development Manager who can talk you through your options.

Q How much does it cost to apply?
Fees are set according to the sector you are catering for and the number of meals you are serving. Your annual fee covers:
  • Consultation visit from your regional Food for Life Served Here Development Manager
  • Dedicated support from your Certification Officer
  • Tools and resources to help you assess your business against the standards
  • Your inspection
  • Your Food for Life Served Here certificate and plaque
  • Marketing materials and support designed specifically for your sector 
  • Soil Association attendance at your award event
  • Featured on the FFLSH website
  • Regular, sector specific updates and regular FFLSH newsletter
  • Access to the FFLSH Supplier Directory and further supply chain support
  • Access to our experts
  • The opportunity to feed into standards consultations
  • An invite to our national awards ceremony 
Find out the fees for your sector by visiting the sector page of the main FFLSH site.

Q What is the application process for the Food for Life Served Here Award?
Visit our sector pages, these explain the application process. For early years, schools, independent schools, further and higher education, workplaces, events catering, visitor attractions, workplaces, hospitals and residential care.

GETTING PREPARED

Q Can you help us get ready for application?
Yes. We offer support packages and consultancy packages to help you get ready, find out more here. You’ll find lots of useful tips and help here. If you can’t find what you need to know, we’re happy to help. Call 0117 914 2406 or contact us here. If you're not sure who your regional contact is, you can find out here.

Q Can you help with staff training?
Yes, we have training and support packages that can be tailored for your organisation’s needs. Find more information here.

Q Do I have to apply for all food served?
No - you can specify certain menus or sites. For some sectors such as schools, all food needs to be covered under the award.

Q What about drinks?
At silver and gold you are now rewarded for serving organic and fairly traded drinks with the aim to increase the sustainability credentials of Food for Life Served Here menus. 

Q How long will it take me to get my Food for Life Served Here award?
You will receive your Food for Life Served Here award following your inspection - as soon as any outstanding information or evidence has been received and approved if required. 

Q What evidence do I need to provide?
See our handbooks for guidance. Each handbook is sector specific; early years, schools, independent schools, further and higher education, workplaces, events catering, visitor attractions, workplaces, hospitals and residential care.

HOW THE INSPECTION WORKS

Q What will happen at my inspection?
A Soil Association Inspector will arrive at a pre-arranged date to carry out your inspection. During this, the Inspector will talk to you about how you make sure you are meeting the standards, as well as looking through your evidence and management plan.
They are likely to open a few cupboards and look inside your fridges to ensure there are no non-compliant products. The inspection is not a pass or fail test. If you are not quite meeting the standards, the Inspector will feed back information and recommendations on where you are falling short, and your regional Food for Life Served Here Development Manager will support you to correct this.

Q How often does the inspection take place?
Annually, unless a follow up inspection is required following initial inspection, or if we’re alerted to an issue during the year. This shouldn’t happen, as we go to great lengths to make sure you’re ready at the first one.

FOOD SOURCING

Q What is RSPCA Assured accreditation?
RSPCA Assured standards ensure that animals enjoy five freedoms which allow them to express normal behaviour. They cover the whole of an animal's life and include criteria to allow for a stimulating environment and increased space. At Silver and Gold, we award points for spend on RSPCA Assured products. 

Q What is MCS fish?
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is a UK charity which works for the protection of seas and champions sustainable fishing. MCS have created a ‘fish to avoid list’ which identifies fish from unsustainable, overfished, highly vulnerable or poorly-managed fisheries.

Q What is MSC fish?
By a fairly confusing coincidence, there are two organisations who work to promote sustainable fishing and who have very similar names – don’t get them confused!

Q Why is locally sourced food better?
Local has travelled less distance than is common in the conventional global food system. Less food miles helps to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-based transport.

Q What is organic?
Animals farmed to organic standards enjoy the highest welfare standards of all certification or welfare assurance schemes. Organic animals are genuinely free range with no routine use of antibiotics. Farms certified organic by the Soil Association exceed EU organic standards for animal welfare – providing the best standards of welfare overall across all species.

Q What is farm assurance?
Farm assured meat is produced on farms that are inspected on an annual basis by accredited inspectors. This means that UK minimum standards on animal welfare are being met. UK welfare standards prevent certain abuses of farm animals still legal elsewhere, including sow stalls and higher stocking densities for indoor housed poultry. We require that all meat at Bronze, Silver and Gold is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards.

Q Where can I find suppliers that can supply compliant products?
Our Food for Life Served Here Supplier Scheme Members can help you find the right products.

UPGRADE TO SILVER OR GOLD AND EXPANDING YOUR AWARD

Q How do I add new sites to my Food for Life Served Here Award?
To add new sites to your Food for Life Served Here Award, you will need to send the following information to your Certification Officer:
  • A list of the sites you would like to add and their locations
  • The date when you will be serving Food for Life Served Here-based menus to these sites
  • Any differences in the new menus 
  • Please be aware that will be invoiced for adding new sites

Q How do I upgrade my Food for Life Served Here award?
To upgrade your Food for Life Served Here award, contact your Certification Officer. We may be able to move the date of any upcoming inspections to allow you time to make necessary changes. Why not take up our Training and Support offer and make sure all is in place for your upgrade inspection?

Q What is the points calculator?
The Silver and Gold standards are assessed on a points system. Food providers are rewarded for every percentage point of their ingredient spend on ethical and environmentally friendly food, locally sourced ingredients and steps to offer healthier menus. The points calculator helps you to calculate your ingredient spend on ethical, local and environmentally friendly ingredients. Find the points calculator specific to the sector you work in from the FFLSH homepage.

RESOURCES TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR FOOD FOR LIFE SERVED HERE AWARD

Q How can I make the most of my Food for Life Served Here Award?
We have a dedicated marketing team to help you communicate your achievement. We have also created a number of marketing materials for Food for Life Served Here Award holders – the url and login for this page is communicated to all Food for Life Served Here award holders upon achieving their award.

Q What marketing resources are available?
We have a range of tools and suggestions to help you tell your staff, customers and wider community about your achievement. See our Business Support section.

Q I’ve forgotten the login
Please contact use the form here to contact us and we'll let you know what it is. It's also on the letter you received from us from our Certification Officers.

All eggs on Food for Life menus come from free range hens

ALL ingredients on Food for Life menus are free from GM

"The Food for Life Served Here Award helps us explain to our members and supporters how, as a food business, we’re different."Matt Drew (Head of Food and Beverage, National Trust)