Fuelling the Games

© Andre Abrahami-CC-2.5

© Andre Abrahami-CC-2.5

Athletes, staff, spectators, volunteers, dignitaries, journalists – that’s a lot of mouths to feed and active bodies to energize. By the time the Games are over, more than 14 million meals will have been devoured.

What do 14 million meals look like, anyway? Organizers estimate the total amount eaten will be 25,000 loaves of bread, 232 tonnes of potatoes, 82 tonnes of seafood, 31 tonnes of poultry, 100 tonnes of meat, 75,000 litres of milk, 19 tonnes of eggs, 21 tonnes of cheese, and 330 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. Organizers are calling it the ‘largest peace-time catering operation in the world’.

With such massive demand, it makes practical as well as environmental sense to source food sustainably, locally and ethically, and to serve the most nutritious food going – this is the Olympics, after all! The aim is for caterers to adhere to sustainable procurement standards as well as guidelines to serve 75 per cent unprocessed, 50 per cent locally sourced and 30 per cent organic food and drink, with a reduced emphasis on foods of animal origin.

Not only is this good for the planet, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging organic farming, it’s an opportunity to transform the UK food industry for the long term. Giving priority to local suppliers offers UK farmers an economic boost, and the Games’ emphasis on local, organic, seasonal food will leave a legacy of better public understanding of health, ethical and sustainability issues around food.

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