Checklist for sustainable catering service procurement

In a nutshell

The aim of this tool is to make the procurement of sustainable catering services easier for procurement officers by listing sustainability areas to be considered when formulating calls for tenders. The checklist, to be used in strict order, covers all the necessary points for procurement. The use of this checklist can help contribute towards several Sustainable Development Goals, and it supports EU climate and Farm to Fork policies.

Necessary Steps


  • The objectives of the procurement process are assessed and coordinated with the customer or canteen working group Setting up the canteen commission.
  • The contract value and award type are determined.
  • Market analysis may be necessary. Analyses can be obtained from a food industry cluster or association.
  • The tender should include:
    • description of the canteen and, if necessary, general specifications;
    • suitability criteria;
    • performance criteria/ technical specifications;
    • contract performance clauses;
    • award/ selection criteria;
    • further provisions and notices (e.g. termination).
  • Selecting performance criteria/ technical specifications with a positive impact on sustainability requires:
    • use of organic products;
    • use of fresh, regional and/ or seasonal products;
    • use of sustainably certified fish and fish products;
    • use of animal products that respect animal welfare;
    • use of fairly traded products (e.g. coffee, tea, chocolate, cocoa, tropical fruits);
    • use of sustainable vegetable fats and oils;
    • reduction of meat consumption: offering equivalent vegetarian/vegan meals every day; plant-only menu days, reducing the amount of meat per dish and meal;
    • no genetically modified ingredients;
    • no artificial additives and taste enhancers;
    • free provision of tap water;
    • allowance for customers’ allergies/religious/other requirements, and responsibility for the provision and labelling of alternative dishes;
    • preparation, portion quantities, and labelling are to be performed in accordance with official recommendations for company/school/hospital catering, such as nutrient-preserving cooking, low salt and fat contents, low sugar contents, and standardised recipes;
    • measures to avoid food and beverage waste: implement two portion sizes, prepare meals the customers wish for, takeaways, and pre-order systems; pass on leftovers (e.g. to food banks or food-sharing initiatives), create special offer dishes from the previous day, ensure regular monitoring and efficient stock-keeping;
    • measures to avoid further waste: reusable/ deposit systems, no single-use packaging, large containers, recycled/ sustainability-certified paper products;
    • use of cleaning agents: dosing devices, cleaning schedule and sustainable cleaning agents, training of kitchen professionals ;
    • food transport (if part of the job): short transport distances, fuel-efficient driving, use of commercial vehicles with low emissions of air pollutants;
    • energy and water consumption of kitchens: energy-saving appliances and energy-optimised use, use of renewable energy, purchase of new resource-saving appliances;
    • environmental management measures: annual monitoring and evaluation of waste, energy, and water consumption, etc., and implementation of appropriate measures;
    • communication: canteen working group, feedback box, survey among kitchen professionals;
    • training of kitchen professionals;
    • possibility to provide catering to customers other than the contracting institution;
    • preference for social enterprises or organisations (e.g. working with handicapped people) in awarding contracts.

More Issues To Consider

  • The checklist is mainly based on already-existing tenders and sustainable procurement criteria for public catering services. Nevertheless, all criteria need to be checked with the relevant legal department(s).
  • The use of regional products must be integrated in a way that follows market regulations.


The information on this page about the use of the tool “Checklist for sustainable catering service procurement” is only provided as a general guide and is not intended as a substitute for the user to check the respective public procurement regulations. We compiled the content to the best of our knowledge, but do not assume any liability for completeness and correctness. We do not assume any liability for the user to verify the applicable procurement law provisions in the respective national state.

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