Sustainable food

We’re committed to offering healthy, affordable and sustainable food across our outlets and services.

Key commitments 

We offer food that is produced, processed and traded in ways that:

  • contribute to the local economy and promote sustainable livelihoods;
  • avoid damaging our planet;
  • enhance animal welfare;
  • provide social benefits.

We achieved Fairtrade University status, with a one star award. 

Find out more about our University's Fairtrade status

Sustainable food initiatives 

We have implemented initiatives over recent years to deliver environmentally sustainable food services at the University. These include:

  • Plastic-free sandwich packaging.
  • Using local suppliers where possible. 
  • Fairtrade coffee, tea and hot chocolate (our coffee is roasted in Sheffield).
  • Healthy food choices at our outlets, including vegetarian and vegan options. 
  • Meat-free Mondays (Food in Residence). 
  • Free range eggs (Food in Residence). 
  • Farm assured chicken.
  • Marine Conservation Society-approved fish. 
  • Carbon labelling on menus in collaboration with Klimato. 
  • Free tap water made available from all catering outlets and water dispensers across campus. 
  • Hosting an annual event as part of Fairtrade Fortnight for suppliers including One Water, Manchester Veg People and Tony's Chocolonely. 
  • Providing takeaway boxes in Food in Residence and for hospitality on campus to reduce food waste. 
  • Creating a community fridge to help those in need. 

We also have a sustainable food policy (PDF, 538KB) in place for all our catering and retail outlets.

Food waste initiatives 

Want Not Waste

This student-run shop caters for all your refillable needs, including dried goods, cleaning products and a TerraCycle station for plastics you cannot recycle at home.  

Food-sharing apps

Reduce food waste with a food-sharing app like Too Good to Go, Olio or Karma. The apps allow you to advertise usable/edible food that you no longer want or need.  

Food waste

The University’s catering team offers takeaway boxes as all events to help reduce food waste. Our food waste pages contain more information.

Food growing projects 

We have a number of food growing projects in place to engage colleagues and students across campus. 

Firs Botanical Gardens

Students can use the polytunnels at the Firs Botanical Gardens to grow fresh salad leaves and greens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers picked this food to add to veg boxes as part Oldham Foodbank’s initiative. The greens are now supplementing an affordable veg box scheme for residents on a low income and moving out of emergency food provision. Recipe and cooking skills support is also offered.  

Incredible Edible Manchester

Incredible Edible Manchester transform unused, derelict plots of land into places to grow sustainable, fresh food. Volunteers help clear sites across Manchester and build greenhouses, vegetable beds and plant seeds.  

Veg box scheme

In 2015, the University partnered with the Kindling Trust to launch an organic veg box scheme. Veg Box People has now grown across the city and has 20 collection points in Greater Manchester.