Hospital catering teams are being given a helping hand in coming to terms with changes in healthy feeding guidelines.

The CQUIN 1B guidelines on healthy food for NHS staff, visitors and patients, which were published last year, are “one of the biggest changes to hospital catering in years”, according to one industry commentator.

Now, to help hospital caterers meet the challenge facing them in understanding and implementing the guidelines and benefit from the funding available to NHS trusts, major foodservice supplier Bidfood has unveiled a ‘bank of tools’.

The new ‘Our Guide to CQUIN 1B 17/19’ has been developed by the company’s technical and customer marketing teams to assist caterers in matching the NHS ambition to ‘lead by example’ by promoting healthy eating throughout its trusts.

David King, marketing manager at Bidfood, says the guide is designed to provide greater clarity around the new guidelines, and also supports hospital caterers to build an appropriate range and track the products they sell.

“CQUIN 1B symbolises a step change in the NHS’s approach to healthier eating and the role of food provided and sold to patients and visitors within hospitals,” says King.

“For the first time, the NHS is actively focusing on driving key health messages through its retail outlets rather than making money on products that could promote an unhealthy lifestyle. This change allows hospital caterers to showcase an offer that fully reflects the modern vision of the NHS.

“Overall, CQUIN 1B is by far the biggest change to have hit hospital catering and the way hospitals buy and sell food products – purposefully supporting outlets to promote healthier products – which is surely a good thing all round.”

He says the recent updates to guidelines for 2017-19 push the focus to a new level with even more specific recommendations around limiting the promotion of foods and drinks high in fat, salt and sugar.

“These products are often some of the top sellers within a hospital’s retail offer, meaning we need to support operators to shift customer preference and loyalty,” King continues.

“It is vital that hospital caterers are aware of the new guidance around what percentage of their range should be lower in fat, salt and sugar, and how the percentage should increase in 2018/19.

“Our guide provides an at-a-glance understanding of how the guidance has changed as well as suggestions for how operators can suitably tailor and audit their range without compromising on its customer appeal.”

The guide includes:

• a year-on-year breakdown of the guidelines
• information on funding
• product suggestions across key categories including drinks, snacks and confectionery
• nutritional values of the Bidfood core range
• access to a dedicated Bidfood account manager who has experience in supplying a compliant range.

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