King's has a reputation for good food, and makes an effort to source fresh local produce wherever possible and to use Fair Trade products. The self-service cafeteria at King's provides breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays, or brunch and dinner at the weekends. There is always a good choice, with a range of hot and cold dishes available, including vegetarian options every day and vegan options on some days.
Most members of King's take their cafeteria food through to the College Hall, or eat together in the bar if they prefer. In the summer many opt for the outside tables and parasols in Chetwynd Court. You don't have to eat cafeteria food, though. There are shared kitchens ('gyp rooms') available in most accommodation, usually equipped with fridges and microwaves. The larger kitchens may have ovens or hobs. In some newer accommodation these kitchens can be a good social space, with large tables and modern facilities. King's also has a number of allotments for students to grow food so you can even eat your own vegetables if you want to.
In addition, the King's Coffee Shop is a good source of snacks and drinks throughout the day. The food is freshly prepared - croissants, cookies, toasties, muffins etc. The drinks are Fair Trade and include specialist coffees, teas and a selection of fruit juices, all at very reasonable prices. In the bar there is also a drinks machine to use at any time if you want a fizzy drink, or the bar itself which serves beverages at lunch time and in the evenings.
In addition to the normal canteen, a series of very popular 'Formal Halls' are held over the course of the year for both undergraduate and graduate students. Food at these dinners is generally of a higher quality and is served at the table by the College staff. Formal Halls are a fun way to celebrate birthdays and other special occasions, or simply to start a good night out. Societies and subject groups sometimes hold social events at them, and there are also themed 'Superformals' for occasions such as Christmas, Hallowe'en and Valentine's Day, when students attend in fancy dress. Above all, these formal meals provide a cheap and popular way to have a good meal out with friends.
King's is part of the University's Low Carbon Meals Scheme, which aims to create a wider awareness of the carbon impact of producing and serving food. A low carbon meal is a meal whose ingredients produce lower greenhouse gas emissions from farming, processing, transport and storage. The foods with the lowest carbon footprints are local seasonal vegetables, cereals and fruit, whereas food flown from across the world, or grown in heated greenhouses, produces considerably more carbon emissions. Animal products are generally higher in emissions, and the worst of all these are beef, lamb and hard cheese. In addition, frozen meals produce high emissions due to the power used to maintain them at low temperatures.
The College has also embraced the 10:10 campaign, in which schools, businesses and other organisations try to cut their carbon by 10% in a year. King's is a Fairtrade college, and the Conference & Dining department serve Fairtrade products to staff, students and guests. They also buy One Water, which supports the building of water wells and clean water tanks in Africa, and Puro coffee, which supports projects to save the South American rainforest.