The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Ayrshire children's playcentre wins
award for its healthy food menu

A CHILDREN’S play centre in Ayrshire is the first of its kind to be recognised by thehealthyliving award.

Juniper Jungle in Galston has picked up the major award for its efforts to make it easier for parents and children visiting the establishment’s coffee shop to choose healthier food.

[Picture shows: Juniper Jungle proprietor Colin Logan (right) receiving the award from George McIvor, chairman of Masterchefs of Great Britain.]

Proprietors Colin and Janice Logan from Mauchline decided to apply after reading about the award in their local newspaper. Juniper Jungle has been interested in providing fresh, healthy food in a clean environment since the business opened four years ago, and the healthyliving award provided a way to be formally recognised for offering healthier food choices.

The national award, recently launched by the Scottish Consumer Council, gives national recognition to caterers and the food service sector which take a range of steps to provide healthier options.

It is open to most food serving outlets in Scotland, but specifically places where people go to buy food regularly, such as workplace restaurants, cafes, sandwich shops, further education sites, hospital canteens, and restaurants.

More than 410 eating establishments across Scotland have already signed up to the award, which organisers hope will become a prestigious accreditation and the sign of healthier eating out.

Juniper Jungle is delighted to be the first establishment of its type to achieve the award for adopting a range of healthier practices, including reducing levels of fat, salt and sugar in food and by making fruit and vegetables more easily available.

Colin Logan said: “From the outset of the business we have always been interested in providing healthier food. When we first opened the business we were told that if we offered ‘healthier food’ we would only last 6 months. Three years on we are delighted to achieve the healthyliving award. For us it reinforces the importance of healthier eating and that it is achievable within a business setting.”

Colin added “At first it seemed daunting and like a lot of hard work, but once we read through the guidance we realised we were doing much of it already.

“We are a family-orientated business and it is important that as well as providing a soft play area for the kids, that the coffee shop is a relaxing and attractive area for adults to be. It is also important that the food on offer complements the activity that the children are taking part in.”

Customers visiting Juniper Jungle can select healthier options when they see an item on the menu or at a service area highlighted with the apple logo.

A recent national survey revealed that 81% believe food establishments in Scotland could to do more to provide healthier choices.

The survey, commissioned by the Scottish Consumer Council, also found 94% agreed it was important healthier options were available to people who eat out and 42% said they would buy food from an eating establishment more often if healthier choices were available.

Claire Brown, project manager of the healthyliving award, said: “We are delighted with the response we have received from eating establishments keen to get behind this award.

“Consumers are increasingly on the look out for healthier options when they eat out. It is encouraging that a family-orientated business has achieved the award. Often children’s options on a menu are overlooked, and the provision of healthier food choices on children’s menus is an
important aspect of the award.”

She added: “Juniper Jungle has gone to great efforts to achieve this award and I’m pleased we are able to give them the recognition that they deserve.”

The healthyliving award takes a wide ranging approach to encourage caterers to adopt healthier practices across the board, and will be actively promoted to consumers to help them access healthier options.

To qualify for the award, caterers need to meet a set of key criteria, which includes a commitment to providing and supporting healthier eating, as demonstrated on the menu selection, the way they prepare food, marketing and promotional activities and the way in which food is presented and sold. At least half of the food they serve will need to be a healthyliving choice, prepared using both healthier ingredients and healthier cooking methods, and healthy and nutritious food is required to be available for children in places where they are served.

For further information on the healthyliving award contact 0141 226 5261.

Contact: Juniper Jungle
Newmilns Road

Tel: 01563 829414
Fax: 01563 829415

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