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The University of Chester is one of the oldest higher education institutions in the UK, and currently has between 18,000 and 20,000 students spread over seven campuses. This requires a well-organised catering operation to keep everyone fed.

“We have three catering outlets at our main site, serving about 1000 meals every day. “Additionally, there is the residential dining room, which provides catering to 450 students seven days a week,” says Paula Martindale, senior operations manager of hospitality and residential services. “Obviously, health and food safety are priorities, we’re always cleaning something, so we need reliable products that get the results we need, consistently.”

One of the most important factors the university considers when choosing new equipment is its environmental impact.

“The University of Chester is very committed to meeting its sustainability targets,” says Paula. “We’ve been looking at everything we do to find ways of reducing our environmental impact, from where we source our food, to the materials we use.”

This has involved some very innovative thinking. “We replaced polystyrene takeout boxes with recyclable alternatives, which won us a Green Gown award,” says Paula. “We’ve also installed a waste digester which converts food waste to grey water. Changes like these have helped us to greatly reduce our waste output.”

Recently the university changed the chemicals it uses for cleaning. Picking the right products was challenging, as Paula explains. “We needed products that helped us to maintain high levels of hygiene without the environmental impact of traditional cleaning chemicals.”

After careful consideration of the options, they chose the Pro Green range from Bidfood Catering Services, a complete range of environmentally friendly cleaning chemicals created in partnership with warewashing experts Winterhalter.

The aim was to make a comprehensive, ethical and environmentally sound professional cleaning solution. The Pro Green range is made from plant-based materials, with vegetable derived surfectants and natural fruit fragrances, contains no phosphates or any harmful additives, and was not tested on animals.

The Pro Green range covers all needs of foodservice operations in both ready to use and concentrate forms, including a complete line of dishwashing chemicals, surface cleaners, housecleaning, floorcare, and handcare.

“Before we discovered the Pro Green range we tried another range of green cleaning chemicals,” says Paula. “But our staff are very particular, if the chemicals they use don’t clean as well as they think they should, they’ll just stop using them and go back to the old ones.”

The previous green chemicals the University used weren’t helping staff meet the required level of hygiene, and there was increasing dissatisfaction about them. Since bringing in the Pro Green range things have been different.

“The feedback we’ve had from our cleaning staff to Pro Green has been very positive,” says Paula. “It completely removes all the grease and dirt first time, saving them time. They’re very happy with the results the new chemicals are giving!”

Every aspect of the range has been designed to reduce its environmental impact. For example, many of the products are available as concentrates in refillable bottles. A single 2litre bottle of concentrate yields 100 x 750ml flasks when diluted, and the reduction of packaging waste is also helpful in meeting environmental targets.

Another important factor is the quality of the support provided by Bidfood and Winterhalter. “Both companies have great reputations for their customer service, but they really have exceeded our expectations,” says Paula. “Previously we’ve found it very difficult to get in touch with manufacturers once they’d got their products in, but Bidfood and Winterhalter have been great – always ready to answer any questions we have, find solutions and make sure we’re happy.”

For example, there were a few teething issues with the chemicals used in the rack dishwasher. “At first it was producing too much foam – it was coming out the door, which is really not ideal.” Winterhalter helped to find a solution. “They looked into it, and discovered we needed to adjust the amounts of some of the chemical additives, which stopped the problem immediately.

“The level of support we receive, combined with the cleaning power of the products has really impressed us here,” says Paula. “They have been second to none.”

Pro Green chemicals used at the University of Chester

Pro 2 Concentrated cleaner & sanitiser

Pro 2 Concentrated cleaner & degreaser

Pro 2 Heavy duty refill flasks cleaner degreaser

Pro 2 Heavy duty refill flasks surface cleaner sanitiser

Pro 5 Anti bactericidal foam soap

Pro 5 Hand spray sanitiser

Pro 2 Washing up liquid

Pro 2 Universal rinse aid

Pro 2 Universal warewashing detergent

Pro 2 Heavy duty oven cleaner

Pro 2 Heavy duty degreaser

Pro 2 Combi oven cleaner

Pro 2 Combi oven rinse aid

Pro 2 Heavy duty degreaser

For more information on The University of Chester visit 

For more information on Bidfood visit