Figures from the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark show the money spent on these products by caterers in schools, nurseries, hospitals, universities, care homes and business and industry has almost doubled from £23m in 2014.
In addition, £9m is spent on organic, £5m on Marine Stewardship Council certified products (MSC), £4.7m on free range (including RSPCA assured products) and £1.4m on Linking Environment and Farming (Leaf) products.
It comes after this year’s Organic Market Report revealed sales of organic had risen 4.9 per cent in the last 12 months and the organic catering sector had increased by 15.2 per cent.
Rich Watts, senior Catering Mark manager, said the scheme had been successfully used as a marketing tool by catering companies and added producers could benefit from tapping into the expanding market.
“Following an increase in sales for many producers this year, we expect to see further growth in the coming 12 months and so the next challenge will be keeping up with demand,” said Mr Watts.
There are now more than 1.6 million Catering Mark standard meals being served every working day across the UK.
Dr Peter Bonfield, who originally developed Defra’s Balanced Scorecard, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to inspire businesses and caterers to improve their environmental performance and show a clear commitment to buying fresh, healthy, locally sourced, sustainable food and champion British producers via the Red Tractor scheme.”
At Catering Mark gold and silver, caterers are awarded points for increasing their use of FairTrade, British and organic ingredients.