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Behind the scenes of the University Hospital of Geneva’s (HUG) giant food service

Learn more about the gargantuan kitchens of the HUG & discover their environmental initiatives. 

written by Rebelle Consultancy on 05/23

Last week, we were guided by Célia Vaudaux, the head of the quality and CSR sector of the HUG catering service who very kindly gave us an insightful tour of the HUG kitchens. 

The not so glamorous hospital food took a totally different turn after meeting with the very enthusiastic team and passionate Chefs, who have at heart to produce healthy and good meals to patients and collaborators  in a challenging and stressful environment. 

Picture working in a kitchen designed 23 years ago for 2 times fewer production needs and being able to supply not only the hospital but also numerous catering services such as IMAD.  We were far from imagining all the logistics and the meticulous coordination behind the scenes for such a machinery to actually function and deliver without failing with non-negotiable precision and attention to detail.

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The kitchen of the HUG serves nearly 10'000 meals -daily (mix of trays, individuals and collective packaging) with a real concern for the quality of the products offered. 

 

On a Sustainability standpoint, HUG is taking important initiatives in order to improve their positive impact:

 

  • A Particular attention is paid to local consumption with as much home-made food as possible

  • The kitchen of Gustave Brasserie is labeled GRTA and Ambassadeurs du Terroir 

  • Seasonal product planning is put into place, for instance they ban strawberries during the winter season, and 20 vegetables follow the seasonality of the OPAGE calendar for the GRTA label

  • The meat comes from verified origins: the beef, pork and veal are Swiss, whereas the chicken is Swiss or French.

  • The fish equally comes from verified origins as well as the fishing practices, they also removed tuna from their menus

  • Palm oil was removed from production

  • Since July 2021, they have introduced a vegetarian menu

  • For each new menu of dishes, they perform an Ecoscore by Beelong in their Brasserie on the ground floor in order to measure their ecological impact (rated from A to E)

  • Partage, Refettorio and La Farce are three partners with who they work closely in order to redistribute the meals that were not consumed

  • Regarding food waste, they did a trial test from February to March 2023 where they divided 6 different sections (dairy products, bread, meat, liquids such as soups, packaged products and spirits) and will repeat the same trial in 2024. With the data, they managed to create a “Best Practices” handbook

This visit is something that we recommend to anyone curious, especially if you are working in the F&B industry.

 

Again a special thank you to the amazing team who welcomed us and for their great work and their desire to implement more sustainable practices to their operations.

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