The Choice Dining Accreditation

Food for thought!

Autumna has developed the first food differentiator for care providers, enabling them to showcase the type of food they offer and the dining experience they provide directly to the care seeker, in a simple and easy to understand way.

Choice Dining provides insight for care seekers on the Cuisine, Hygiene, Options, Individuality, Care and the Environment, within a home.  It allows individuals to research and discover more about the selection of food available to them within a particular setting, for the very first time.

Autumna’s founder Debbie Harris said: ‘The dining experience is a critical component of any care service and our Choice Dining rating offers people even more assurance when deciding on the right type of care provision.’

How Does Choice Dining Work?

Choice Dining is the first food-focused accreditation specifically designed so that care seekers can easily consider and compare the dining experience within different care settings.

In addition, Choice Dining enables care homes to raise awareness around the great work they are doing, providing the highest of standards in terms of nutrition and presentation, whilst ensuring diners are accessing a positive and pleasurable atmosphere at mealtimes.

There are 6 different categories within the Choice Dining accreditation that work together to build a helpful information picture of what each home can offer its residents.


Choice Dining Categories


The Cuisine classification highlights how the home attractively presents dishes and the ways in which fresh preparation helps entice seniors to eat healthily balanced meals.

In fact, the nutritional value of what seniors eat couldn’t be more vital to their longevity as it can help support a healthier old age. Providing a rainbow of colours, paired with vibrant tastes and compatible textures in everyday food can connect people to the food they’re eating and allow them to take the time for food enjoyment.

‘We know that care facilities are taking these actions,’ says Harris ‘and as a result we want to reward them and shine a light on their great work.’


The Choice Dining hygiene category reassures residents, families and potential residents that the food on offer has been subject to appropriate and rigorous standards of hygiene. 

Hand hygiene for both seniors and kitchen staff is an essential component. Plus, food safety preparation and storage criteria are part and parcel of this classification so that care homes can show consumers just how meticulous and exacting their standards really are.

Post-pandemic, it’s more important than ever to deliver proof of hygiene specifications within a care setting.


‘Being able to eat the food you want, when you want is a significant component in feeling free and empowered,’ says Harris. ‘Older people need this sense of freedom and choice so that they know if they fancy a little something, then this level of independence should be made available to them.’

With the Choice Dining accreditation, the way that carers explore an individual’s food preferences and tries to ensure those food types are present is key. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean that healthy guidelines for preparing food are ignored; rather, these elements all work together to support the good health of older people.

‘It’s clear that care homes provide a huge range of choice for their residents. Achieving this category illustrates just how much work goes into keeping seniors happy, well-fed and nourished, therefore showcasing your strengths for all stakeholders to appreciate.’


Care and retirement settings often work hard to understand the wants and requirements of every individual, whether these are cultural, religious or dietary.

‘It's important that current and prospective residents know that care homes also regularly review these choices so that changes can be taken into account and dietary plans or menus can be adapted.’

With the Individuality category, care providers can prove to their existing and potential residents and their families that extreme care is taken to personalise menus and food offerings so that every person feels they are listened to and catered for. 


‘We know that delivering a respectful and quality service is at the heart of mealtime preparation in the vast majority of care settings.’

‘Residents and their loved ones want to know that their feelings are heard, appreciated and acted upon so they feel at home.’

This is where the Care category comes in, showing clients and their families that your home can provide a high quality of care and makes sure that older people are nurtured, whatever stage of life they are in.


These days, every business has to consider how environmentally conscious and socially responsible it is. Care homes are no different and whilst care comes first, assessing the impact of what food is used, where it comes from and how waste is consumed or recycled are all integral aspects to the quality delivery of food in homes. 

‘With our Environmental category, you can deliver real evidence of how you are meeting environmental standards and the actions you’re taking to increase sustainability in your care setting.’

Increasingly, people are looking for proof that organisations are taking measures that reduce their carbon and plastic use, plus increase their energy efficiency. With the Choice Dining accreditation, you can make this information readily available to all stakeholders in a transparent manner.

What’s The ROI?

There’s no doubt that with Choice Dining you’re demonstrating the best about your organisation.

You may be looking to attract more self-funding clients and the Choice Dining accreditation can definitely support this.

There’s real evidence that showing people how much care and precision you put into achieving goals related to better food preparation and delivery increases enquiries about your setting.

If you haven’t already, register your home on Autumna today and find out how the Choice Dining accreditation can help you promote the great work you are doing.