Products & Services

allmanhall Explore Why Seasons Matter When Creating Menus For Your Residents

Having an array of food available all year round may seem like a good thing. However, this vast choice can have a negative impact on the environment, the economy and – perhaps more surprisingly – on the nutritional status of food.

In general fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of their ripeness. This is also the peak of their nutritional status.

When out of season produce is ‘helped’ to grow in the UK, the environmental impact can be astronomical – local is not always better, especially if growing it here out of season means carbon intensive methods.

If transported to the UK from overseas, it will start to age whilst travelling. This ageing leads to fresh foods losing nutritional density and not providing the same benefits as if eaten when freshly picked: between 5 to 40% lower in vitamins and minerals*.

Why does this matter in your care homes? Smaller appetites and therefore smaller portions make it vital that food served and eaten is as nutritionally dense as possible. If you can make your menus more in-season you are potentially increasing the nutritional density of your residents’ meals.

What’s more, in-season produce is also likely to be better quality and value!

2 top tips:
1 Know your seasons. Work with a food procurement expert, like allmanhall who fully understand the complexities of food supply and who can provide nutrition and buying advice. You can also make use of allmanhall’s seasonality guide.

2. Provide variety. Although sticking to seasons may mean you’re choosing foods from a smaller pool, do still focus on variety to deliver a greater assortment of nutrients to support the overall health of your residents. It will also help positively impact gut health through more diverse good gut bacteria.

* Researcher, University of Austin