Frequently asked questions

1. How much does it cost?

Nothing. All advice and resources are free, as is registering for the healthyliving award.

2. How long will it take?

This may vary, depending on the changes which need to be made, and we would work towards a target timetable set up to suit you. However we encourage all applicants to try to complete the assessment process within 6 months of registering.

3. Which types of company or organisation can apply?

The award is open to the vast majority of caterers in the public, private and voluntary sectors that provide prepared food directly to the consumer. These include restaurants, cafes, takeaways and outside caterers, as well as more unusual outlets such as offshore platforms, mobile vans and prisons.

4. Are there any establishments that can't apply?

There are a few types of catering establishment that are NOT eligible at present:
  • Food manufacturers, as they do not provide food directly to the consumer
  • Local authority schools, as they are covered by separate healthy eating regulations (however independent schools may apply)
  • Children's nurseries
  • Hospital catering for in-patients
Establishments that may provide for specific nutritional needs, such as residential care homes, can apply. However managers must be sure they can comply with the award criteria while still meeting the nutritional needs of everyone using the service.

5. We are a small company, can we still apply?

Of course. The award is open to all sizes of organisation in Scotland.

6. We are a large organisation and want many of our sites to apply, is this possible?

If your organisation is part of a chain or contract catering company you can make a multi-site application. Alternatively, if you are part of a large company but only want to apply for your site, that's no problem. Just fill in the forms in the usual way.

7. When I am working towards achieving an award, what support will I get?

You will receive a Guidance for Applicants pack containing detailed information and advice. Support will also be available over the phone, by email and on the website. We will also supply you with healthyliving award promotional resources. If you wish, we can also put you in touch with another caterer who has already successfully achieved the award, through our mentoring programme.

8. Will I need to make lots of changes?

That depends on what you are doing already. You may be well on your way to achieving a healthyliving award. If you want to find out more about the conditions of the award before you register, you can view a copy of the self-assessment workbook here (but please note you must register for the healthyliving award before submitting a completed questionnaire).

9. Once an award is achieved, how do you know the award conditions are being upheld?

It is important that the credibility of the award is maintained; therefore it's vital that all establishments with a healthyliving award agree to comply with quality assurance procedures. These can include unannounced visits to check standards are being met. Award holding caterers should display healthyliving award comment cards which we will supply. These allow customers who are concerned that the award conditions are not being met in a particular establishment to contact us direct. We will follow up all such concerns.

10. How long does the award last?

Each award is valid for two years. After two years you can apply to renew your award, or opt to work towards the healthyliving award plus (see information below).

11. How do I apply for the higher level award?

To be eligible for the higher level healthyliving award plus , you must firstly hold the standard award for a full 2-year term. When we write to you about renewing your award we will invite you to apply for the plus award if you wish. If you have already renewed your award you can find out how to register here.

12. What are the main differences between the healthyliving award and healthyliving award plus ?

For the higher level healthyliving award plus, you must meet key challenges based on greater provision and promotion of healthier food choices. For detailed information you can download the healthyliving award information plus booklet.

13. What if I have a complaint or wish to appeal against a decision by the healthyliving award?

In the first instance you should contact the healthyliving award Project Manager who will try to resolve the matter. For complaints about the delivery and management of the award, or complaints about an award holding establishment, please download our Complaints Procedure. If you are an applicant and wish to complain or appeal about an assessment visit or quality assurance outcome, please download our Appeals Procedure.

14. How has the award changed now the criteria have been revised?

If you registered for the award after January 2012 - you will have received up to date guidance and you should implement the guidance and use the materials provided in your starter pack. You need not take any further action

If you registered or held an award before December 2011 - you will be aware that the criteria have been revised. Until the end of 2011 award applicants could use the ‘apple’ logo on menus and at point of sale to identify healthyliving choices. In line with EU regulations on Nutrition and Health Claims made on Food, from Dec 2011 businesses were no longer able to make health claims for specific foods. This means you can no longer use the ‘apple’ logo or any other symbol to highlight menu items.

We wrote to all registered and awarded businesses in November 2011 to inform you that you needed to remove the apple logo from menus and point of sale by end of December 2011. If you have not done this, you should do the following with immediate effect:

  • Remove the apple logo wherever it is used to identify a healthier item to your customers including:
    • From printed menus
    • From menu boards
    • From servery counters
    • From self-service displays
    • From point of sale displays
    • From online menus
  • From the 1st January 2012 you must not use any logo or symbol to identify a healthier item.
  • From 1st January 2012 you must not make a health claim for any food; for example you must not describe any dish or item as healthy, healthier, good for you, and so on.
  • You can continue to display the healthyliving award logo in your premises to let the customers know that you hold the award or are working towards it. Just make sure it is not displayed alongside any particular food items.

The award still required that 50% of the food items you serve are healthyliving items (70% for HLA plus holders), although you can no longer highlight them as healthy to your customers. Continuing to make healthyliving items available means the award will continue to be the sign of healthier food and its benefits will remain the same.

If you have a question which has not been answered here or elsewhere on the website, you can email us your question