Sodexo received the Education award at the annual Health and Vitality Honours dinner, held on 28 January at Lord’s Cricket Ground.

The Sodexo team at Southampton Solent University and their vending partner, Revive, received the honour for introducing the Honest Café, a 24/7 vending area serving only health conscious snacks and drinks.

Nick Hayter, group account manager for Sodexo at Southampton Solent University, said, “We are thrilled to receive this award. We have worked closely with Solent University and the team at Revive to help promote innovative food choices, which have health and wellbeing at their core, for both students and staff.”

Introduced in 2014, the opening of the Honest Café made Southampton Solent the first UK university to provide a healthy vending café to its students.

Soft drinks high in sugar and snacks high in fat were replaced with locally-sourced, low calorie organic options including juices, fruit teas, flavoured popcorn and baked vegetable snacks, as well as Fairtrade tea, latte, cappuccino and hot chocolate.

Sales suggest the healthy vending concept has been well received by students and staff, with an increase in sales by 62% in its first year of operation.

Marc Goodman, business development manager at Southampton Solent University said: “We’ve been working with Sodexo for some time to champion innovative, healthy and ethical food choices and we’re delighted that our catering partner has received this recognition.

“The healthy vending concept, along with other healthy eating options that Sodexo provide on campus, including 24 freshly prepared salads available every day, provides a variety of options to enhance our students’ experience.”

The vending machines themselves, which include touch screens, product promotions and card payments, are provided by Salisbury-based company Revive Vending, who are contracted by Sodexo and donate a portion of all revenues to EdUKaid, a charity seeking to improve the lives of children living in rural Tanzania.

Nick adds, “2015 was a great year for the team, our food production manager, Mark Davidson, was named Catering Mark Champion for Universities by the Soil Association, which was followed a few months later by the news that we have achieved the gold catering mark. This latest award is a great start to 2016.”

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