...Bill Johnstone at BJ’s Snack Bar, DumfriesBill Johnstone and Neil Forbes

A food van in Dumfries has challenged the ‘greasy burger’ stereotype by becoming the first mobile catering business in the Dumfries and Galloway area to achieve a higher level national award for supporting heathier eating.

Bill Johnstone of BJ Catering received a ‘healthyliving award (HLA) plus' from esteemed Scottish Chef Neil Forbes at this year’s HLA annual presentation ceremony. Held in Hampden Stadium, Glasgow, on 18 March 2015, the ceremony celebrated the successes of 185 businesses for guaranteeing their customers can eat healthily. Representing a wide range of businesses – including community- and voluntary-run cafes, off-shore platforms, workplace restaurants, food-to-go caterers, prisons and mobile food vans – the caterers show how good food can be made available to customers anywhere.

BJ Catering, which achieved its first HLA award in 2011, uses fresh ingredients to limit the amount of fat, salt and sugar used in its food and 70% of the menu is recognised by the HLA as ‘healthy’.

Mr Johnstone, who has been running his outside/street side catering business for 20 years, said:
“As the importance of healthy eating has grown over the years, I’ve been responsibly building the business to provide healthier food choices for customers. The perception of a catering van is that they sell greasy burgers: we don’t. Even our less healthy items are prepared in a healthier way.

"Achieving the plus award was a natural progression since we already had so much of the healthier catering practices and ingredients in place. We’ve shown that lunch can be healthy no matter where you get it from – even for customers who are on the go."

Anne Lee, HLA Manager, added:
"Congratulations to BJ Catering for attaining the healthyliving award plus. It perfectly illustrates that all types of businesses can achieve our awards with the will to do so. We know people are looking for a healthier choice when eating out and it is fantastic to see a food van adapting to this market and actively promoting healthier food to their customers. We wish them well."