Hospital caterers ditching in-house kitchens for CPUs

Andy Jones, managing director

In-house caterers working for NHS hospital trusts are displaying a growing appetite for large-scale CPU kitchens that provide patient meals across multiple sites, a leading expert in the healthcare foodservice field has claimed.

Andy Jones, managing director of AJ Associates and a former chair of the Hospital Caterers Association (HCA), said there was a clear trend away from individual in-house kitchens towards central production units built to provide meals across numerous trust sites.

Mr Jones, who advises numerous hospital trusts on kitchen projects, explained: “The current trend is hospital trusts that are looking to build CPUs again. But CPUs serving not just their trusts but other trusts too.

“And that’s something that’s really gathering momentum. I can’t name them but certainly two projects I’m working on in the UK at the moment where they’re actually looking at building a CPU that will serve around 19,000 patient meals a week initially.”

Speaking at Commercial Kitchen, Mr Jones also outlined how the equipment requirements of hospital caterers are changing because of high staff turnover.

He said: “The turnover in the catering industry is a staggering 57%. We need equipment that is easy to use, easy to train, meets the needs but also allows the flare of the chefs to still come through.”

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