Our Parent Company, Compass Group UK&I, Launches Industry-First Maternity Jacket

08 March 2024

Designed by its Women in Food Community to support female colleagues throughout pregnancy, postpartum and menopause

Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services company, has today launched its own maternity jacket; a specially-designed, industry-first uniform that provides proper support, fit and function for female colleagues throughout pregnancy and beyond.

Led by Compass Group’s Women in Food community and tried and tested by pregnant Compass chefs, the team worked with respected fashion designer Lynda Yong for over a year to perfect the design, health and safety specifications, comfort, fit and practicalities. This has ensured the garment meets the needs of pregnant chefs and frontline female colleagues from across its business.

The jacket’s features include tailored arms and detail on the shoulders and popper fastenings for health and safety, elasticated lining to allow for pregnancy growth, and functionality that lends itself to feeding or pumping, if needed. The jacket has also been made in a unique lightweight material that helps dissipate heat and promotes airflow, maintaining the wearer’s body temperature at 37.5oC, making the jacket suitable not only for pregnant colleagues but for those returning to work postpartum and anyone working through perimenopause and menopause.

The jacket is currently in production and will be available to Compass’ UK&I workforce next month, for anyone who wishes to wear one. Looking forward, the Group intends to roll out this innovative solution worldwide to Compass colleagues across its global operations.

Gemma Evans-Hurley, Head of Culinary, Dine Contract Catering and Chair of Women in Food, commented: “At Compass, when we’re presented with a problem, we don’t rest until we find a solution. We identified that, across our industry, the maternity uniforms available for pregnant and postpartum colleagues were not enabling them to bring their best selves to work every day. For years, pregnant women have simply sized-up their uniform, which isn’t comfortable or flattering, with restricted movement making everyday tasks more challenging. Our Compass-designed solution is a gamechanger.”

Leanne Ryan, Chef, Restaurant Associates, who tried the jacket whilst pregnant and is currently wearing it postpartum, said: “The kitchen is a challenging working environment at the best of times, but especially when you are heavily pregnant. Having this jacket, which has been designed by our Compass female chefs, feels like women are being listened to, respected and supported in an industry that has been so male dominated for such a long time.”

Laura Brand, Chef, Eurest, who trialled the jacket during her pregnancy and postpartum, added: “Women in Food approached me during my pregnancy and asked me to be involved in this exciting project from the very start, providing feedback throughout the design process and testing early designs in the kitchen to ensure the functionality was just right. For me, this is about more than just a jacket; it’s about feeling good, looking good, and being your best at work.”

Compass’ Women in Food community launched in 2016, with a view to supporting female chefs within the business and across the wider industry. The network’s remit has now widened to support all roles and functions, with the objectives of raising awareness of issues and campaigns impacting female employees, driving career progression and development and creating a space where everyone can thrive and share ideas and experiences. The network also supported on the creation of the company’s Menopause policy.

Watch the maternity jacket launch video here.