Ethics and Business Practices

Superficially Apricot Catering/Food4Kids look like businesses which are concerned about the quality of the food they provide. However scratch beneath the surface and you will find half truths, false claims and outright lies.

The ‘Our Philosophy’ page on the Apricot Catering website made very interesting reading. All the current “buzz words” in the catering industry are there – organic, free range, fairtrade, seasonal, local – however it is not an accurate description of the philosophy of Apricot Catering/Food4Kids which is actually more concerned with profit than food quality, sustainable farming practices or animal welfare.

On the right is a screen capture of the Philosophy page as it was Philosophy up until February 2013. Much of what is written is, at best, a warped version of the truth. Mr Maud wants food to be produced as cheaply as possible so that he makes as much profit as possible. A large proportion of the food used for both Apricot and Food4Kids is bought from Morrisons in Ross or Bookers in Hereford. In February 2013 Trading Standards paid him a visit. The results of Trading Standards inspections are not made public however immediately afterwards, the text on the Philosophy page changed (click here). You can see that the paragraph about using Organic produce has disappeared as has the paragraph about Fairtrade and the claim that they have “drawn the line in using fruit, vegetables and meat from overseas [sic] ” . You can draw your own conclusions about what TS did or did not find.

This deception begs the question: how many clients paid for high quality food and thought they were getting locally sourced/organic/free range products when actually they were getting a cheaper, poorer quality alternative? As an example, the menu for Corporate functions used to mention Tyrrells crisps however regularly Mr Maud bought cheaper crisps from elsewhere saying that the customer would never know.

Food4Kids Autumn Menu 2012The school meals operation is another area where Mr Maud has misled people about the food produced. A lot of the food which is cooked for the schools is purchased from Booker or Morrison. To the left is the school menu from Food4Kids for the Autumn term 2012. At the bottom of the menu there are claims about the quality and sourcing of the ingredients used which did not accurately reflect the food that was produced during that time. ‘Our milk is all organic’ and ‘our butter is organic’ are lies. ‘The meat we use is sourced locally and is quality assured’ is also false – the chicken used was often cooked frozen chicken from Thailand (from Booker) and Mr Maud regularly bought meat from a butcher in Bristol, hardly local.

It is quite clear that Mr Maud has jumped on the ethical, sustainable, local, organic bandwagon in order to gain business, but has no qualms about making false claims and deceiving people.

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