The rise of the White Van Gourmand - Skylark Cafe featured in first guide

Cambridgeshire’s Café Skylark chosen from among 1,000 eateries to earn a place in ‘White Van Gourmand’: the UK’s first good food guide written specifically by van drivers for van drivers.

Cambridgeshire’s Café Skylark has today been recognised as a perfect pit stop for the food-conscious van driver. The café, located at Skylark Country Store and Garden Centre, was chosen by van drivers from among 1,000 eateries to take pride of place in the UK’s first-ever good food guide written by van drivers, for van drivers.

The guide, entitled ‘White Van Gourmand’, has been created by MORE TH>N Van Insurance which is owned by RSA, and highlights 20 of the UK’s best cafes, restaurants, pubs and gourmet mobile food vendors that are just a short drive from some of Britain’s major roads. Each location was reviewed by a panel of van drivers turned food critics according to quality, convenience, price and, importantly for the busy van driving man or woman, speed of service. It is available as a free download from<>

Café Skylark was reviewed by local florist and self-confessed foodie Melanie Jarvis, who awarded it a perfect 5-star rating. An excerpt from Melanie’s review reads: “The breakfast is award winning and it so it should be. Generous portions, good quality local produce and a real lack of grease like many roadside cafes. The staff at Skylark are friendly and approachable and provided a quick service. Customer service is at the top of their agenda. As cafes go you could not ask for more.”

As well as receiving a glowing review, Café Skylark has been presented with a special ‘White Van Gourmand’ rosette for the owners to display as a symbol of their fantastic food and hospitality.

The creation of White Van Gourmand follows new research conducted by MORE TH>N Van Insurance, which reveals how nearly two thirds (61%) of the nation’s van drivers are saying goodbye to the stereotype of the unhealthy ‘white van man’ and shunning substandard motorway service station fast food in favour of higher quality fare.

Drilling deeper into the research of 1,000 van drivers*, it would seem that when it comes to in-van snacks, crisps, chocolate and pasties are out, replaced in increasing numbers by fresh fruit (55%), salads (47%) and raw vegetables (24%). Just shy of one third (30%) also admitted they will check the fat and salt content of food before they even consider putting it near their mouths.

Despite an acute dislike for the soggy meals on offer at service stations, 46% of the estimated 3.2 million1 van drivers nevertheless feel there are times, when driving through unfamiliar areas, that they simply have no choice but to visit the dreaded services - because they don’t know of alternative places nearby to grab a quick lunch on a busy working day.

Mark Christer, Managing Director of RSA’s Personal Lines Insurance, commented: “For a long time van drivers have been pigeon-holed as regularly indulging in unhealthy meals and fast food, but it’s clear from this research that this is a completely antiquated stereotype that doesn’t closely resemble the truth.”

“Today’s van driving men and women are increasingly shunning the limited options forced upon them by service stations in favour of good quality food. We hope that the ‘White Van Gourmand’ food guide will go some way to help van drivers everywhere escape motorway service stations and discover the good food that’s only a stone’s throw from the roadside.”