The Good Food for Festivals Guide

//The Good Food for Festivals Guide

The Good Food for Festivals Guide

Festivals and other events offer a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the best of fresh, delicious and sustainable food.

We understand that while many festivals are keen to improve their ethical credentials, tackling the food being served can be daunting – hence this Good Food for Festivals Guide, published by Sustain in partnership with A Greener Festival. The guide provides practical advice to festival organisers on how to implement positive changes. While the examples in the following pages are drawn primarily from UK festivals, the topics and recommendations are relevant to the wider event and international festival community.

By adopting the simple, affordable and effective actions outlined in this guide, many of which are already being taken by some forward-thinking festival organisers, your event can play a part in improving the health and well-being of visitors, the livelihoods of farmers and producers, the welfare of farm animals, the conservation of precious wildlife and fish stocks, and the long-term sustainability of our food system.

“An ever-growing number of festivals in the United Kingdom and around the world have been at the forefront of promoting sustainability, whether by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste, reducing their event’s environmental impact or championing positive behaviour such as recycling. With often large numbers of people using shared catering, festivals provide an interesting and enjoyable space to engage with the audience and promote food sustainability. A Greener Festival has identified food sustainability as a priority for 2012 and we are actively looking for better and healthier food at festivals, and to support sustainable farming. This clear and relevant set of guidelines is a real and important step forward and will be a massive help to festival organisers and others involved with live events.”
Ben Challis, Co-founder, A Greener Festival

“Eating, drinking and throwing things away are some of the most in-your-face impacts at festivals.  Choosing to provide local, seasonal, chemical-free, healthy and sustainably-producedfood is something all considerate event organisers and caterers should take on.  Likewise the huge volumes of waste created from all that eating and drinking can be diverted from landfill if the right serveware is chosen, and  – so importantly – if onsite waste operations and bin segregation is set up to match the local waste processing facilities used.  This guide shines a spotlight on these important issues and gives a great up-to-date look at the things you need to think about when planning catering and related waste management.  One of my best achievements has been diverting 92% of waste away from landfill at Latitude Festival by doing just what is recommended in this guide.  It can be done and the punters love you for it!”
Meegan Jones, Author of Sustainable Event Management: A Practical Guide, and Director of Green Shoot Pacific.

“At last a guide that raises the bar for everyone involved in outdoor catering.  A wealth of well-researched, practical information which if implemented will revolutionise both the quality and appeal of food at festivals.  Let’s all work together to spread the word to traders everywhere on how they can stand out as the tasty option.  You’ve given them the tools to do the job…let’s hope they use them.”
Bob Wilson, Greenpeace Events Co-ordinator

The organisers of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games have taken a pioneering approach by committing to serve sustainable food for the 14 million meals served at the Games. In their London 2012 Food Vision, the organisers of the Games set out their commitment to serve British and seasonal food, healthy options, animal products from higher-welfare systems such as RSPCA Freedom Food, verifiably sustainable fish, and Fairtrade products, and radically to reduce packaging and food waste. They also aspire to use food from environmentally-friendly farming methods, such as LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) and organic.

Inspired by the London 2012 Food Vision, event organisers such as the Greater London Authority and Thames Festival have already committed to adopt these same food and catering standards in their work. Building on the response to the London 2012 Food Vision, the Food Legacy programme has been established to encourage other caterers and event organisers to join in.


For more information, contact Kelly Parsons at Sustain on + 44 (0) 20 7837 1228 or

The Good Food for Festivals Guide, and the Good Food Guide for Festival and Street-food Caterers have been jointly produced by two Sustain projects – ‘Ethical Eats’ and ‘Food Legacy, inspired by the London 2012 Food Vision’ – in partnership with A Greener Festival. The guides provide practical advice to festival organisers, and mobile caterers, on how to implement positive changes to their food and drink. The guides are free to download at:

By |2016-11-01T15:05:00+00:00September 19th, 2012|Green Initiatives|