Food outlets which go above and beyond to provide healthy food in north Oxfordshire were recognised with a new awards scheme.
Cherwell District Council presented its inaugural Eat Out Eat Well awards at Bloxham Mill, with vice-chairman Cllr Jolanta Lis handing out certificates to a host of businesses providing nutritious food.
Platinum, gold, silver and bronze awards are offered with accolades for many businesses in Banburyshire.
Cllr Kieron Mallon, Cherwell’s lead member for public protection, said: “Eating out can make a big difference to people’s overall diet and how healthy they are.
“We want to recognise the businesses that are doing their best to encourage a nutritious diet, both in the quality of their cooking, and how they promote it to their customers.
“I’m really pleased with the response from the business community to the launch of the Eat Out Eat Well awards and I hope that the winners’ success will encourage more restaurants and other caterers to follow their lead.
“Most food caterers in the district can apply for an Eat Out Eat Well assessment and the winners will have their names recorded in a national database which people can check before choosing where to go for a slap-up meal or takeaway.
“Holding the award is good for business and diners alike so I do encourage food outlets in our district to apply.”
Gold awards were handed out to Reg’s Café and Prodrive from Banbury, The Stables from Bodicote, Reg’s Cafe in Bloxham, and Mulberry Café in Cropredy, while Blue Apple Catering in Banbury received a silver award at the ceremony on January 30.
Reg’s Cafe co-owner Alison Howe said: “I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but we really are passionate about promoting healthy food options at Reg’s Café.
“We’ve worked very closely with the environmental health team at South Northamptonshire Council for the past two years and with their counterparts at Cherwell District Council more recently.
“We’re very grateful for the help and advice we’re received from both teams, who’ve gone out of their way to ensure we get healthy eating offerings at our three cafés absolutely right.
“Our great staff have also made an invaluable contribution, of course.
“These awards represent very welcome recognition for the efforts of everyone involved and demonstrate just how much can be achieved when public services and private enterprises like ours work in partnership for the benefit of the region’s consumers.”
Caterers are assessed on the food on offer, cooking methods and how healthy options are marketed to customers – the scheme also recognises staff’s nutritional knowledge.
The first step towards receiving an award is for businesses to complete a self-assessment form which allows caters to provide an analysis of factors such as how much fruit and vegetables are offered, and the degree of fat, sugar and oil present in meals.
For more information on the scheme, visit: www.cherwell.gov.uk/eat-out-eat-well.