Getting into the right FoodSpace: Creating a circular economy through food is a winning formula
FoodSpace, which is a division of the Apleona Ireland has an offering that brings food ethics, sustainability and flavour into the same pot. They now operate 12 locations in Ireland.
Catering to large numbers of people across all their locations daily through sustainable and ethical practices is the driving force behind why this company is growing throughout Ireland. The culture is one where chefs are driven to create food that is alive with great flavour and nutrition, prepared from scratch using authentic ingredients. The FoodSpace team has a genuine passion for local and seasonal produce and ingredients.
They have worked hard to put brilliant food and sustainably sourced ingredients at the heart of this vibrant business.
In Galway, FoodSpace operates a number of locations within the educational hubs in NUIG and GMIT. Before the process of even writing a menu started, Executive Chef for Ireland Conor Spacey looked at the local business community. Searching within 50 miles of the location, he looked for the local butchers, the fishmongers, vegetable growers and producers as well as the local bakeries making the best breads & bakes.
What appealed to Conor about this role was the idea of creating something from scratch. Pauline Cox, Director of Foodservices has been given a blank canvas by the Board to create a unique, standalone service offer within the Apleona group. The challenge here was how to stand apart from the crowd in what is a very congested market, to create a real point of difference that would appeal to likeminded clients and customers.
“We are loyal to local, which is paramount when we begin work at a new site with FoodSpace. Every site we work at has a unique vision, a unique menu offering and the producers we work with are local to that area. They are the first thing that is investigated. Their knowledge and their products help to shape what we can do food wise,” explained Conor.
A great example of how they work with local producers is The Friendly Farmer for the Galway locations. In fact all of the chicken in all of the hot dishes as well as their freshly prepared deli sandwiches is all Irish. There are no national contracts for food; local trumps at each location. It’s the same with fish: they use Gannet Fishmongers in Galway because “we love how they work and how they are so sustainable as well as responsible in their fishing practices and sales,” Conor said.
Serving food in volume means there can be an issue around food waste. FoodSpace is part of the SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association & FoodMade Good programme) and as part of that sustainable approach they have procedures in place to combat food waste and how to use it.
Most recently they were looking at milk waste from the baristas or coffee dock at one of their NUIG Cafés, the milk here is collected and made into Ricotta. On average per week there is 27 litres of milk collected and the used in a way that actually eliminates food waste. They are also one of the only spaces in Galway to provide compostable bins for the compostable cups they provide.
FoodSpace are ambitious to grow our business where we can work with likeminded clients and customers. Currently FoodSpace employs 120 in dedicated Catering roles.
For more information log onto www.foodspace.com.