As part of our commitment to enhancing campus environments, in 2017 we launched the Deakin Food Charter. Based on feedback from our students and staff, this set of principles is supported by the university's Faculty of Health and guides a balanced food and drink offering across Deakin.
The aim? To provide choice in our food offer that meets the needs of our vibrant, complex community. The Charter is based on five pillars – healthy, informed, balanced, easy and sustainable – that focus on everything from fresh, seasonal ingredients to reduced packaging or no minimum EFTPOS.
The five pillars: what do they actually mean?
Free tap water and a variety of foods are part of our commitment to bringing you healthier options. And so you know exactly what you’re eating, we’re introducing a traffic light classification system based on the Healthy Choices guidelines.
Did you know unhealthy food environments contribute to unhealthy diets and high levels of obesity – which are now the biggest contributors to poor health in Australia*? The Deakin Food Charter draws on our leading food and nutrition research to do something about this.
*Global Obesity Centre research
Our approach to food – including our prices – reflects our commitment to great service all year round, award wages for student employees, quality ingredients and items that cater to a range of dietary requirements.
Balance is important in all aspects of life, which is why this Charter doesn’t only focus on healthy food. It brings together a range of perspectives to improve our food environments in terms of experience, nutrition, variety, convenience and sustainability.
Self-catering facilities like fridges and microwaves are always available, regardless of whether you’re an early riser or a night owl. We’re also working to provide purchased food options all day, every day.
When we talk about food, sustainability means more environmentally friendly packaging, composted food waste and sustainable sourcing.
In particular, we’re fighting the War on Waste to reduce Deakin’s contribution to landfill. It started last year with the introduction of discounts for people who chose reusable cups for their takeaway drinks… but there is lots more to it.
Not so long ago, 42% of our waste was made up of food scraps. This is why we have recently established a composting process in our cafe kitchens, where food scraps are composted rather than sent to landfill. By changing the way we dispose of these organics, we're making a huge impact - on average, we divert 180kg of food scraps from landfill every week!
Additionally, we are working to ensure that no Deakin food venue uses unsustainable palm oil. An edible vegetable oil, palm oil is found in a range of Australia’s food products. While the oil itself isn’t bad, the industry is linked to major issues such as deforestation, animal cruelty and climate change. A large proportion of palm oil expansion occurs at the expense of biodiversity and wildlife.
But we can do something about this, by finding alternatives, or using palm oil that we are confident has been sourced sustainably. A project launched recently with the Deakin Health Promotion Society will review our current operations and supply chain, before using the findings to guide improvements. Keep an eye on this website for updates.