Circular Procurement of Catering

Many organizations offer food for their staff, visitors, students, patients,... With or without an external service provider. As a procurer you have a major influence on the environmental impact here. Both through the choice of products that are offered, and by avoiding food waste. The social aspect is also important in this product group. Offer the producers fair prices and consider the employment of people with a distance to the labor market. In addition, your menu can also make consumers aware of sustainable and healthy food. Are you going to make your current menu of offer more circular? Then put sufficient emphasis on communication. Love goes through the stomach afterall...

Circular food strategies

  • Less waste: To measure is to know. Collect data to map the current food loss and/or take a critical look at the data you already have. Make a distinction between food wasted during preparation, spoiled food and table scraps. This is the basis for your action plan. The first step is prevention: try to match your purchase quantities as closely as possible to the actual consumption. Thereafter, high value destinations should be sought for the food left over. For example, by processing it in a dish for the next day or giving away preparations to customers or staff. A secondary option is to use it as feed. This way you avoid the food beying reduced to waste.

  • Insight into the share of recycled, biobased and virgin materials and increasing their share: This mainly applies to packaging. Both by the supplier and the ones you use yourself. More information can be found on the packaging product category page. Please note that there are specific guidelines for packaging products that come into contact with food.
  • Energy, water and gas consumption: There can be major differences in the consumption associated with the products you choose, both during production and transport. In addition, the way in which the products are processed and/or stored after delivery also has an impact on the consumption. Try to choose local, seasonal products whenever possible. Keep in mind that public procurement law does not allow to favor local suppliers.
  • Protein shift: Aim for a better balance between animal, vegetable and microbial protein sources in your offer. This has a positive impact on the environment as well as on human health.

  • Choose products with a long shelf life and optimize storage methods so that you have as little food loss as possible

  • Insight into composition: avoid ingredients or products that have a major negative environmental impact. Labels can provide guidance for this.  (MSC, ASC, RSPO,...).
  • Stimulate circular revenue models: try to find a symbiosis with a company that uses your preparation waste as a raw material. Examples are soap aroma from orange peels or coffee grounds that are used to grow mushrooms

  • Microbial digestion or composting: Separate the waste types at collection and ensure that they are is processed to a high standard. Avoid burning and landfill as much as possible.
  • Contractual agreements for recycling: used or spoiled fats and oils should be collected by a specialised processor or taken a recycling center.
  • Reducing toxicity: Favour products from sustainable or organic farming, fishing and catlle breeding.
  • Stimulate circular revenue models: look for symbiosis with suppliers who use your food waste or recycled material as a raw materials.

Criteria for purchasing food and vending machines


Not all labels have the same value, so take a critical look at which labels you ask for, whether they are sufficiently related to the subject of the assignment and whether there are enough products available on the market to meet the demand. You must also explicitly demonstrate that you accept equivalent products.

Circular Procurement Cases - Catering


Tuesday 25 February 2020

The Spadel group, which is active in the Benelux, Bulgaria, France and the United Kingdom, sells natural mineral water, spring water and drinks based on natural water. Spadel is a great believer in t…


Monday 17 February 2020

Peter Bottelberghts: "The UZA has already concluded a circular contract concerning the operation of the patient kitchen, staff restaurant and commercial area in a public–private partnership for a per…


Monday 17 February 2020

Peter Van Steenkiste: "We defined five circular challenges: fairtrade & healthy crops future-proof production  circular packaging green logistics  close-the-loop partnerships We’re…

More ›

Publications about Circular Catering


This manual is a comprehensive resource that covers all aspects of procurement and guides the procurement officer in adopting procurement practices that promote healthy and sustainable diets. It also…


In this publication, Sustainable food contact materials in the European healthcare sector, HCWH has gathered information on the health and environmental risks of commonly used FCMs, including plastic…


The StratKIT project has developed eight recommendations on Sustainable and Healthy School Food Procurement for national and EU policy makers as part of the Procura+ City Interest Group on School Foo…


EU Food Policy Coalition published their common policy recommendations for sustainable food public procurement, which, if implemented, would be a win-win strategy to achieve healthy and sustainable d…


A toolkit to assist procurement practitioners in their provision of meals in the public sector has been developed through the EU-funded StratKIT project.


Complete case study from the EU GPP in practice series.


This handbook provides local governments with concrete tools to facilitate the transition to a circular food system, from stakeholder engagement to designing effective policies.


This is an English translation of short case descriptions that are part of a larger report on Circular Procurement and Strategies among Norwegian Municipalities, developed by Inventura AS on behalf o…


This work provides a framework to understand reuse, identifies six major benefits of reuse, and maps 69 reuse examples.


Recently published guide on how to use public procurement to address single-use plastics in the Mediterranean region -specially in the packaging and food and beverage sectors, as they are the main co…


The European Commission developed a series of sector specific LCC calculation tools which aim to facilitate the use of LCC amongst public procurers. This is the user guide to the LCC tool for GPP of …


The European Commission has developped a series of sector specific LCC calculation tools which aim to facilitate the use of LCC amongst public procurers. This is the LCC tool for the GPP of vending m…


The EU GPP criteria are developed to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents. While the adopted EU GPP criteria aim to reach a good balance between environmental per…

Overview of product categories

Information about circular procument and example cases per specific product category.





office furniture design and lighting
Office Furnishings and Lighting

PAPIER & KANTOOR- MATERIAALPaper & Office Supplies

Health Care
Health Care