CQUIN 1B – The future of hospital catering by David King
Meet David King, our Marketing Manager for the hospitals channel, and learn his perspective on the guidelines and what they mean in practice.
CQUIN 1B is the biggest change to hit hospital catering for decades. It is all about the overall stance the NHS takes on healthy eating and the role of food within hospitals.
The recent updates to the guidelines for 2017-19 push the focus to a new level with even more specific recommendations that limit the promotion and advertising of food and drink products high in fat, salt and sugar. These products are often some of the top sellers within a hospital’s retail offer meaning we, as a supplier, need to support operators to shift customer preference and loyalty.
NHS premises in England serve around 1 million patients a day, as well as staff (of which almost 54% are thought to be overweight or obese).*
CQUIN 1B symbolises a step change approach. For the first time, the NHS is actively focussing on driving key health messages through its retail outlets rather than making money on products that could promote an unhealthy lifestyle. With retail outlets and canteens acting as key profit generators for NHS Trusts, any alteration to the products that can be sold and promoted has the potential to impact markedly on their success.
Consequently, when the guidelines were first introduced there was a lot of uncertainty. They are a massive transformation of the status quo and naturally there was concern about how difficult it would be to comply. As time has gone by, and the guidance has become more prescriptive, operators have become more open to the potential for positive change and the chance to showcase an offer that fully reflects the modern vision of the NHS. In fact, we’ve seen many of our customers really embracing the opportunity to align their offer more with consumer trends for healthier eating and drinking.
What does it mean in practice
That said, CQUIN 1B does provide its challenges. Caterers are now responsible for everything from sourcing and promoting compliant products to tracking and submitting their records to benefit from the funding available to NHS Trusts.
That’s where our role comes in. As a leading foodservice provider, we’ve invested significantly in upskilling our account managers to fully understand the guidance and share their expertise with our customers.
We have developed a dedicated Guide to CQUIN 1B 17/19 which not only provides an at-a-glance understanding of the guidelines but also includes suggestions for how operators can suitably tailor and audit their range without compromising on its customer appeal.
Even more invaluable is our free reporting tool which enables Bidfood customers to quickly and easily analyse their product range. A traffic light coding system shows which of their chosen products is compliant and it generates reports which can be submitted as part of the CQUIN tracking process.
- Speak to your suppliers and get their advice on product alternatives
- Don’t introduce too many changes too quickly – trial and test first
- Tap into consumer trends and insights
- Find the right balance between range requirements and driving the vision and mission of the NHS
- Speak to your procurement team to align on goals and objectives