Five Wokingham Borough caterers are being awarded hearts of gold because their menus make it easier for their customers to make healthy choices.
Called Eat Out Eat Well (EOEW), the new scheme rewards caterers for the ways they encourage healthy eating; either on their premises or as takeaways.
Sixteen outlets are the first to be rated under the new scheme, which is being launched across the county to coincide with national Food Safety Week (June 11 to 15).
The award scheme, which is being run by West Berkshire and Wokingham Environmental Health and Trading Standards Services, has three levels – Bronze, Silver, and Gold, and is symbolised by an apple logo in the shape of a heart.
Five businesses locally have been awarded gold, seven silver and four bronze. They cover eight businesses and also eight outlets at the University of Reading.
The award is free and open to all types of establishments catering for the general public including takeaways, cafes, sandwich shops, and restaurants.
The level of award is based on a scoring system that takes into account the type of food on offer, cooking methods, and how caterers promote healthy options to their customers.
To obtain a Gold Award, key members of staff will need to undertake some form of accredited or recognised training in nutrition.
To support those businesses, Wokingham Borough Council is currently offering nutrition training at a discount which could result in more caterers becoming award-winners. The six hours of training, spread over two weeks, is being offered at £30 rather than the usual £69 cost. For details email email@example.com
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for Internal Services at Wokingham Borough Council, said: "Whether sitting down or taking away, we’re very lucky to have such a good choice of great places to eat across Wokingham Borough.
"This scheme gives local residents the information they need to better understand the food choices they make to enjoy meals that are both healthy and delicious."
The scheme is voluntary but businesses must meet the required standard for food hygiene and food standards before being considered for the award.
Award winners will receive a certificate and charter to display on the premises and help with promotion and training on healthier food.
The award lasts for two years but failure to maintain the required standards of any of the award conditions could result in its removal.