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the Royal Brompton Hospital team holding their Food for Life Award

Nuno Matias, Catering Services Manager for Royal Brompton Hospital explains how, with support from Pelican Procurement Services, the organisation has achieved a Silver Food for Life award – and has its sights now set on attaining Gold.


I have been working here for three years, and one of my targets was to enable Royal Brompton to achieve a Silver Food for Life award.

Trust has a big drive on the environment, sustainability and food waste, by achieving the Silver Food for Life, it is in line with all our targets of the Trust.

Having opened the account with the Soil Association, I set myself a target of achieving the award in two years, based on my previous experience of gaining the bronze award. A lot of work goes into choosing suppliers that could provide the right products at the right price while meeting the Food for Life standards. I had previously selected suppliers, but if there was an issue with stock, for example, it took a lot of time working to identify alternative products, adjust menus and manage budgeting spreadsheets.

It was at this point, however, that colleagues at the Guys & St Thomas’ Trust introduced me to Pelican Procurement. I’m used to working with management consultants, so I could understand what Pelican could do from a supplier management point of view. I thought it would be ideal for me to have some support.

How Pelican provided support

I don’t, however, think I had estimated just how much support Pelican would be able to offer. The criteria for a silver award is to ensure at least 5% of all food is organic. Having Pelican on my side has resulted in many benefits for me – both for the award and in managing the overall procurement process and related efficiencies. They made things so much easier for me.

As a fresh cook site, I knew we had many things already in place. However, Pelican was able to support the product selection process, negotiate with suppliers and ensure we were not receiving non-compliant products while working within our budget. Our client liaison, Mia Westwood at Pelican, knew exactly what we needed from a supplier. She also supported us with collating all the declaration documents from the suppliers about the origins of products (ie Fair Trade, RSPCA assured, Red Tractor) that were required for the submission.

Achieving the Silver Award

We subsequently achieved the Silver standard within the timeframe. It has increased our patient satisfaction – we have a 98% patient satisfaction score, which is a fantastic result.

We advertise that we cook fresh and have the Red Tractor accreditation for supporting local suppliers. It is a hit with patients and our staff; they understand that we care and place importance on offering healthy food choices.

Our head of communications recently wrote a blog and described the catering function as the heart of the hospital; it’s a place where everyone comes and gathers for a meal. It’s so important for our staff who face different challenges each day; they come for a break with us and can select from a variety of healthy menu choices that give them everything they need to fuel their busy days.

If you want to achieve a Food for Life standard, it’s essential to have someone supporting you every step of the way. For me, having Pelican on my side was the single most important factor towards us achieving this, and in such quick succession. From day one, they understood my brief and worked in partnership to make it happen. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this in less than three years, whereas, with Pelican, it’s been less than 12 months. The support has been essential.

Nuno Matias, Catering Services Manager for Royal Brompton Hospital

What’s next?

We are now preparing for the Gold standard and want to be one of the first few hospital trusts to achieve this. This is one of several projects I am looking at with Pelican at my side. The other is introducing a bedside menu ordering system called Picnic from Pelican for our patients using tablets. The system will enable us to innovate and further enhance our patient satisfaction rates.

We are here to help

If you need support with your projects, initiatives and rewards, please get in touch with your Pelican account manager, call 01252 705214 or email us at

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