Our campus caterers continuously strive to make better choices and implement sustainable food initiatives for both our customers and the environment.

keep cup

Plant-based food options

Sodexo who operate An Bhialann (the largest restaurant on campus) offer a dedicated vegan salad bar with daily fresh salad choices including items such as vegan sushi. Regular promotions are hosted to highlight sustainability and vegan options such as Meat Free Fridays and guest pop up counters including Veganuary where plant-based vegan menus are served. Sample menus include Korean Spiced Boa Buns with shredded, sticky, sesame glazed pulled oats with crunchy veg and kimchi with vegan flapjacks available.

Sustainability labelling and signage

Our caterers ensure sustainability labelling is prominent in both kitchens and dining halls encouraging diners to end food waste. Students see signage encouraging them to only take what they can eat and staff are advised of alternative options to binning food such as three simple steps; wrap, label and freeze for staff. Menus incorporate sustainability credentials such as highlighting local meats and sustainable fish.

Food waste prevention

All University caterers implement food waste prevention systems. The University has a target to reduce food waste by 50% by 2025 and the following are some examples of the commitment involved from the outsourced companies we partner with at NUI Galway:

FoodSpace (second largest catering supplier operating Friars, ZINC, DERI and Tog SOos) use only local, seasonal ingredients and aim to have zero-waste kitchens. Vegetable trimmings are turned into pickles and ferments, coffee grinds are used as soil fertiliser, waste milk is made into ricotta cheese and the resulting whey is added to pickling liquor, all activities of a highly motivated and environmentally aware kitchen.

Sodexo incorporates CSR training as part of all staff induction to create positive change. This includes implementing the Sodexo ‘Waste Watch’ programme which champions the reduction of food waste on their ‘watch’. This program prevents on average 50% of food wasted. Using the program, Sodexo teams can rapidly and easily capture food waste data, giving clear insights into what is being wasted in their kitchens and why. With this new understanding, teams can implement targeted operational and behavioral changes to help end avoidable food waste, whether food waste generated in the kitchen or consumer food waste.

Reusable service ware program

Masterchefs Catering (operating Moffetts, Staff Club, Cloud, Stem, CSI cafés) provide the 2GOCUP, Ireland’s first deposit and return scheme. To date the scheme has saved over 2,550,000 single use cups from going to landfill introd. 2GOCUP was introduced in the University in January 2020.

"2GoCup" coffee cup

How it works:

a) Order your hot drink to go

b) Deposit of €1 for your 2GoCup

c) Return for your €1 or get a fresh 2GOCup

d) You receive a reusable lid with your first deposit, this is yours to keep!

e) Cup lasts a minimum of 3 years if used every single day. That’s 1,000,000’s of single use cups saved from landfill simply by switching to 2GoCup!.

Compostable service ware

Compostable service ware is offered to customers in our restauramnts. Our compostable cups/plates are manufactured using polylactic acid made from totally renewable resources like corns, potatoes and other plants. These compostable cups also use less energy, and release less harmful pollution than conventional plastic cups. The range includes several colours, cups, forks, knives and spoons.

Reusable coffee cup discount/incentive

Customers are offered a €0.10 discount for bringing their own re-fillable coffee cup.

NUI Galway Organic Gardening Society

The Organic Gardening Society was established in 2010 with the aim of developing a space to grow organic fruit and vegetables on campus. A space was allocated at the rear of No.12 Distillery Road. After much clearing and preparation, four raised beds were installed as well as a fruit border, composting area and small greenhouse. This is the first Organic Garden to be set up in an Irish University Campus.

Members of the society learn to grow their own fruit and vegetables in a sustainable and organic manner. They welcome members of the wider public to participate in the garden as well. The community of gardeners get the chance to meet like-minded people, enjoy the mental and physical benefits of working in an outdoor space and, of course, enjoy the vegetable-shaped benefits of their labour.