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Our Food

Why nursery food matters

The right food plays a vital role in young childrens’ health and development. We know that isn’t breaking news, but it’s why we feel so passionate about doing a great job …it matters.

It’s about growth, development and readiness to learn, but also food preferences. Because nursery age is a key time – in fact it’s when children establish their food preferences, so it’s really important they’re given a good range of nutritional options.

Research suggests the diets of under 5s in the UK are often low in fibre and key vitamins and minerals, and too high in sugar and salt. As a result, more than one in five UK children currently start school overweight or obese.

Our menus go above and beyond current government guidance for Menus for Early Years Settings in the UK. This means the children we feed in full-time nursery care are guaranteed to be offered a nutritionally balanced diet at nursery.

Eat Well Start Well Award Scheme

Zebedees is proud to share that we have worked with Public Health at Surrey County Council to achieve the Eat Well Start Well Healthy Catering Award for Early Years Settings.

What does this mean?

The scheme was developed as an initiative to promote a balanced diet and encourage healthier eating habits for children attending nursery. It forms part of the Council’s Whole Systems Approach to Obesity.

The Eat Well Start Well Award Scheme is also open to early years care providers based in Surrey who provide nutritiously balanced meals and snacks. It provides nurseries with practical advice on menus, recipes, portion sizes, ingredient preparation and cooking methods.

Zebedees’ standard lunch and afternoon tea menus meet all the requirements set out in the assessment criteria for the Eat Well Start Well Award. (Which we’re very pleased about.). This means that any of our nurseries based in Surrey can also apply for this award and will automatically meet the criteria for lunches and teas.

Our nutritional consultant

Charlotte Stirling-Reed is a registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition (AfN). She’s also a mum, a bestselling author and runs her own successful consultancy, SR Nutrition.

Her career began with the NHS, in the Maternal-, Infant- and Child-Nutrition departments. Since then, Charlotte has worked with local authorities, as well as well-known brands and celebrities, including Body Coach Joe Wicks. She has worked with children and families throughout her career, helping them to feed their children with confidence.

Charlotte plays a key part in our menu creation and development. She also provides information and support to nurseries and parents via regular posts on our blog and social media. This includes live Q&A sessions and feeding workshops.

Together, we’re campaigning for healthier food in all UK nurseries.

Charlotte says: “I’m so pleased to be working with the team at Zebedees. They do a fantastic job and I’m excited to support their menu creation and raise awareness of the importance of healthy, nutritious nursery food for young children.”

To find out more about Charlotte’s consultancy services, or for baby and child nutritional advice, go to

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Our food, your peace of mind

Our meals are made with fresh, local, seasonal ingredients wherever possible and can be traced from farm to fork. We care about food miles and we care about our planet.

We know where all our ingredients are sourced, packed, transported and cooked, so you can be confident your children are enjoying fresh, safe, wholesome food. We use:

• Sustainable meat, fish and dairy suppliers, who live as nearby as possible.

• Low-salt meat options.

• Plain, full-fat yoghurts with no added sugar or sweeteners.

Try Our Food

Our Processes

We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment, finding new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle our energy, fuel, water and waste.

Our heat exchange pump reuses the hot air from our fridges and freezers to give us hot water. It also turns hot air into cool air for our kitchen air-conditioning.

Our Hobart Warewasher saves 500,000 litres of water a year, compared to conventional industrial dishwashers.

We have two staff shuttle buses for staff to catch into work, and a car sharing policy.

Our car park has electric vehicle (EV) charging points and our whole fleet will soon be hybrid and electric.

You’ll only find low-energy LED bulbs on our premises.

All our WCs are Propelair toilets, which use 84% less water than a standard loo, and they all have low-energy hand dryers.

Every year, we divert over 50 tonnes of waste from landfill to an in-vessel composting facility, where it’s converted into high quality compost.

Over 20 tonnes of waste cardboard a year gets sent to a pulping company for recycling.

Our waste metal all goes to metal recycling companies – around 16 tonnes of it a year.

All our paper gets reused and recycled.

We also recycle our old computers, mobile phones, printer cartridges, fluorescent tubes, wooden pallets, batteries and any unwanted equipment.

We’re working towards our Silver Certificate under the Steps to Environmental Management Scheme (STEM), to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint.

Our safety & hygiene

The safety of our food is a priority and we are regularly inspected by an external auditor to make sure our procedures are meeting the highest standards.

Every day, we monitor the delivery temperatures of our meals, using sample boxes that contain data logging probes. These download the temperature of the food every five minutes, so we can accurately monitor it right up until service.

We ask that you probe your main courses following our serving guidelines just before service and record the temperature on the sheets provided. We do not require you to probe the hot side dishes (rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, vanilla sauce and sponge slices) as a scientific assessment has shown they’re safe to eat if they fall below 63°c for more than 2 hours.

We’re a UK approved food business registered with Wealden District Council for nursery meals delivered to East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent, London, Brighton, Surrey and Essex.

We operate in compliance with The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 and Regulation (EC) No. 852/2004 on the Hygiene of Foodstuffs. We have also been approved under EC Regulations 853/2004. Our approval number is EC WE069 UK and we are listed on the Food Standards Agency website. As we are an approved company we only use approved companies for our high-risk products: meat, fish and dairy.

We meet current Food Standards Agency Information Regulation regarding allergens. All our allergen information can be found listed next to each menu in our Nursery Menu Information Packs. Our nursery meals are microbiologically tested by an accredited laboratory every 3 months, as is our water. We also have a minimum £10 million public liability insurance cover.

The Company does not use any nut products and/or nut derivatives in any Goods and provides menus which highlight for each food item/meal which of the 14 allergens covered by Retained Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 are present. Suitable alternative meals will be provided on request. However, the Company does not guarantee that any of the products which are provided by its suppliers have not come into contact with nuts, nut derivatives or any other allergens, prior to their supply to the Company, and therefore the Company cannot accept responsibility for any reaction that any person may have to any Goods. The Company accepts no liability and will not be liable for any claim howsoever caused arising from any incident involving any person’s allergy whether it be a nut allergy or otherwise.

We provide an allergen advice sheet, in accordance with the Retained Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011, to help with the management of special diets in our nurseries. We work closely with our nutritionist when designing these meals.

What we’re up to

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 This will include a look behind-the-scenes, as well as useful nutrition tips, menus, interviews, mentions in the press and much more.

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