The University of Sussex


Going the extra mile with bespoke university food services

When Chartwells partnered with the University of Sussex (UoS) back in 2013, we knew we needed to think outside the box to help them transition to outsourced university catering seamlessly, provide students with dynamic food experiences that truly align with their wants and needs, and deliver a consistently exceptional ‘Sussex Food’ catering solution across the entire campus.  

In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, we also needed to think differently to continue delivering outstanding food services while keeping our 19,000 students safe and protecting our client’s revenue.  

Innovating to protect our planet

 By connecting with students and actively listening to their thoughts and concerns, we quickly realised the importance of championing sustainability measures throughout the University of Sussex. We made it our mission to support Sussex-based local suppliers, cook with seasonal produce, and introduce plant-forward menus with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

We also tapped into the university’s thriving coffee culture with our Simply Cup recycling scheme and Mug for Life initiative, which incentivises students to avoid single-use cups through a 30p levy on every drink purchase.

To reduce our production and food waste streams, we also introduced a Winnow waste system, partnered with Too Good to Go and Olio, and helped the UoS become the first university to install a bio-processor. The bio-processor converts all compostable and organic waste into enriched fertiliser, which is then used by the grounds team on green spaces and local allotments.

Creating student-led food services

To truly connect with UoS students, we appointed a dedicated Student Engagement Manager to actively listen to what students want and need. We also launched an innovative Student Ambassador programme, partnering with students with more than 1,000 social media followers (990 on Instagram, 1446 on Facebook, and 952 on Twitter) to promote new products and gather feedback from their peers. 

As a result, we updated the menus across our seven cafés, two restaurants, two food vans, Change Please mobile van and two trikes to align with emerging food trends, preferences and dietary requirements.

Keeping students safe and secure during Covid-19

To make accessing our delicious food as safe and convenient as possible for students throughout the Covid-19 crisis, we launched a variety of no or low contact food hubs and concepts. We made click and collect services, food deliveries and cook-at-home meal kits available via the Uni Food Hub app, implemented Starbucks units within halls of residence, and introduced diverse culinary pop-ups to campus using our mobile food vans.

We also developed nutritionally balanced food kits for self-isolating students, offering meal options for between one to 14 days, and created experiential treat kits to keep students entertained throughout the lockdown periods.

Talk to our business development team

Whether you’d like to discuss how our school and education catering experiences could inspire your pupils or students, or you’re interested in partnering with our brilliant teams across the UK, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re always happy to help! For all other enquiries, please visit our other enquiries page. 

Email: enquiries@chartwells.co.uk 

Phone: 0800 917 6818

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