ESS Wins MIDAS Sustainability Award for Defence Plant-Forward Offer

20 March 2023

The Defence, Marine and Aerospace sector of ESS, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has won the prestigious MIDAS Sustainability Award for its Defence plant-forward food offer.

The Menu Innovation and Development Awards (MIDAS) recognise the outstanding creative talents of menu development managers and group executive chefs within the multi-unit and chain restaurant sectors of the foodservice industry. This year’s awards were held in London on 16th March 2023 and the shortlisted companies included a variety of well-known high street brands.  

ESS was recognised for introducing over 70 new plant-forward dishes into its Defence contracts.

The meat content of each of these dishes has been reduced by at least 30% with the total protein content being maintained or, in most cases, increased. This has substantially reduced the emissions associated with the menu, as well as providing significant health benefits such as increased fibre and reduced fat and saturated fat.

ESS customer favourites including spaghetti Bolognese, beef curry, Mexican enchiladas and lamb koftas are now better for the environment, healthier for customers and still look and taste as authentic as they did before. This demonstrates that it is possible to deliver a more sustainable, innovative food offer without compromising on quality, choice and appeal to our customers.

The MIDAS event was attended by Scott Freeman – ESS Culinary Director, Lone Middleton – Compass One Proposition Director and Anne Simonnet – Compass One Sustainability Director. Throughout the day the team met with a range of suppliers and joined a series of insightful presentations before the awards were presented in the evening.

Scott Freeman, ESS Culinary Director, commented:

“It’s an honour to win a MIDAS Award – we were in some excellent company on the shortlist! The process of developing these new plant-forward dishes relied on close collaboration between our chefs, menu management team and nutritionists, so the award recognises each of their efforts. I’m proud of the positive sustainability and health impacts that we’ve made, and we continue to seek new and innovative ways of doing things to deliver further improvements.”

Anne Simonnet, Compass One Sustainability Director, commented:

“It was fantastic to attend the recent MIDAS event. The work our culinary team do to reduce the emissions connected to our menus is essential, all while enhancing health and maintaining the flavour and appearance of dishes. To have this recognised by the wider industry is a fantastic achievement!”

In 2021, Compass Group UK & Ireland announced its commitment to reaching Climate Net Zero by 2030. In February this year, the organisation published its first Climate Impact Report, which established progress so far. This included a reported 36.11% absolute reduction in emissions from animal proteins, following its first 18 months of targeted climate action, equating to a reduction of 88,388 tCO2e. Read the full report here: compassuk_i_climatereport_final_2022023.pdf (