New scheme to help diners make healthier choices when eating out in Northamptonshire

The launch of the Eat Out Eat Well awards scheme in Northamptonshire
The launch of the Eat Out Eat Well awards scheme in Northamptonshire

Food firms are being encouraged to take part in a new scheme rewarding caterers who make it easier for their customers to make healthy choices when eating out.

The Eat Out Eat Well award scheme was unveiled at Kettering’s Corn Market Hall yesterday and was attended by The High Sherriff of Northamptonshire Dr Ahmed Muhktar.

Accredited by nutrition experts, Eat Out Eat Well encourages food businesses to offer healthier options on their menus.

It also aims to show how healthier cooking practices, such as grilling instead of frying, and the use of lower-fat ingredients where possible, can make a big difference.

Initially developed by Surrey County Council, Eat Out Eat Well is being rolled out across Northamptonshire following successful pilot projects by both Daventry District Council and Kettering Council.

The Eat Out Eat Well scheme is managed by Environmental Health Northamptonshire, through the County Food Liaison Group and co-ordinated by environmental health teams at district and borough councils.

It is open to any business serving food to the public, including takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops and restaurants.

Those who sign up will be visited by specially-trained officers, who will look at the menu, the type of food offered, how it is prepared and how healthy options are marketed to customers.

Environmental health teams will also work with businesses and offer nutrition training and education to help them make improvements and improve their award where possible.

It replaces the Heartbeat scheme, which also rewarded food businesses for providing healthy options on menus.

Cllr Chris Millar, district/borough representative on the Northamptonshire Health and Wellbeing Board, said: “We are fortunate in Northamptonshire to have a lot of fantastic cafés and restaurants.

“We want to work with those businesses to help them improve further by providing healthier options to customers.

“Not only will this make it easier for our residents to make healthier choices when eating out, but it will also give the businesses involved a competitive edge.

“Receiving an Eat Out Eat Well award shows you are a responsible business that puts its customers first and I would urge caterers to contact their local health protection teams to find out more.”

There are three levels of the award scheme - bronze, silver and gold - based on a scoring system that takes into account the type of food on offer, how it is prepared, and how it is promoted to customers.

Shirley Plenderleith, head of environmental health at Kettering Council, said: “Kettering has been one of the pilot authorities for the introduction of the Eat Out Eat Well award.

“We have been really pleased with the level of enthusiasm that the businesses on the pilot have shown for adopting new approaches to offering healthy food within their menus.

“As a result of those experiences we are looking forward to helping more of our businesses to attain the award and giving the public a range of healthier choices when they eat out.”

Some of the businesses that signed up to the scheme during the pilot were among the first in the county to receive the new awards at the launch event.

The award winners were:

- Gold award holders: The Ritz Inn Tapas Bar and Grill, Desborough; Cransley Hospice Tea Room, Kettering

- Silver award holders: The Raj, Kettering; Sanna’s Kitchen, Kettering; Aramark Ltd, Towcester

- Bronze award holders: The White Horse Inn, Stoke Albany; The Old Bakehouse, Rothwell; The Old Bank, Rothwell; The Wheel and Compass, Weston-by Welland; Thai Garden, Rothwell; Lee Garden, Kettering; MuMu, Kettering; Kettering Park Hotel, Kettering; Millie’s Café, Wellingborough

Any food businesses in the county interested in achieving an Eat Out Eat Well award can contact the health protection teams at their district or borough councils.