Photo of Kateryna Liddle..Kateryna Liddle, AEGON UK

AEGON UK is a large financial services company whose main business is insurance and pensions. They employ around 3000 staff at their Edinburgh headquarters, split between two buildings in Edinburgh Park.

Catering services for both buildings are provided by contract caterers ARAMARK, and the staff catering facilities on both sites have recently achieved the healthyliving award. Kateryna Liddle is ARAMARK’s Food and Beverage Manager, and we asked her what she might be doing on a typical day.

Kateryna Liddle

 Kateryna explained: “it varies quite a bit, as I am involved with sales and marketing in both of the restaurants. The restaurant in the main building has a salad bar, seafood bar, Mediterranean style bar, wok counter, build your own sandwich counter, world’s fare and pizza & pasta, and each of these has at least one healthyliving choice dish on every day. There is also a deli which offers a breakfast service and sandwiches made on site at lunchtime, and also a retail shop. We have a hospitality department which caters for coffee trays, working lunches, formal and informal dinners and various events.

“In the smaller building there is a food court and a deli, and there are also vending machines throughout both buildings.

Working towards the Award

“The whole team was involved when we were working towards the healthyliving award. David Gordon, the Head Chef, and I were the project leaders and we put together a healthyliving award committee by selecting one person from each of the departments: hospitality, vending, shop, restaurants and deli. They assisted us in getting the message across to the rest of the team, researching our current food offers and adjusting the range of products, menus and cooking methods to comply with the award conditions.

New ideas for promotions

“I’ll often be involved in thinking up new ideas with our team for promotions and I work closely on this with AEGON’s Employee Well-being team.We run a promotion every month to encourage healthy eating. Currently, we are promoting a new range of 100% fruit smoothies. We are giving customers a loyalty card so they get their eighth smoothie free, and this has been a big success.

“During May, we put together a promotion which was all about the healthyliving award, and the Employee Well-being team also got involved to publicise the healthy working lives campaign. We did a cookery demonstration, and all our merchandising displays were based around healthyliving. We had leaflets about reducing fats, sugars and salt and information from the British Heart Foundation. We also ran a customer competition: we asked customers to design a healthyliving sandwich based on guidelines we gave them, and the best entries were incorporated into our range. It was a very successful promotion and we got the message across that we had achieved the healthyliving award.

“For our next healthyliving promotion we are planning a short newsletter to put out on the tables within the restaurants. There is already an Employee Well-being newsletter that goes out through the company intranet, but this table talker version will be more focused and will draw attention to the fact that we now have the award.

Benefits of the Award

“Achieving the award has been great, and we have had so much positive feedback from customers. People are very impressed that we have the healthyliving award, and they take an interest and will often ask what is in the dishes. 65% of the staff here at AEGON are female, so there is a lot of focus on diets as well as on healthy eating. There is a gym on site and we get support from the staff there as well, often working together.

“The award has benefited all the catering areas at AEGON UK Edinburgh: hospitality, vending and the retail shop as well as the restaurants. We were able to introduce new brands and dishes onto our menus and improve our offer.

“We didn’t have to change a great deal to get the award, as a lot of our dishes were healthy anyway, but we just have to be more aware of it all on a day-to-day basis to make sure we are keeping to the award criteria. We also make a point of training up new chefs and catering staff in the award criteria.”

 With so many customers to provide for, Kateryna leads a busy life. The staff at AEGON UK are lucky to have such a wide range of healthy options in their on-site restaurants and catering facilities, and with more and more establishments throughout Scotland signing up to the healthyliving award, more caterers like Kateryna and her team will also see the benefits it can bring to their business.