The Food for Life Served Here handbook for schools is available to download online
Soil Association begins campaign to raise 'Food for Life Served Here' awareness
03/10/2017 - 09:42
The Soil Associating is hoping to raise awareness of its Food for Life Served Here award among parents in the hope of getting more schools to sign up to the scheme.

The award provides an independent endorsement that food providers are taking steps to improve the food they serve, using ingredients that are local, additive-free, freshly prepared on site, and sourced sustainably.

According to the Soil Association, there are currently more than 1.7 million of these meals being served every day across 10,000 UK schools.

Through its campaign, parents will be able to see if their child’s school serves Food for Life using an interactive online map. They can nominate schools who don’t already hold an award which will then be shared with the schools.

Ian Nutt, head of programme development at the Soil Association, said: “This month is about celebrating our existing caterers, giving them the opportunity to shout about what they do, as well as an opportunity to raise awareness of the award to help us grow even more.

“School caterers make a valuable contribution to maintaining healthy diets in children; and as schools are places of learning, they can also help develop knowledge of food and diet that is beneficial throughout life.

“Having a Food for Life Served Here Award means they can make a statement to parents about their commitment to delivering food that is fresh, seasonal and sustainable.

“Now is an opportune moment for more caterers to sign up: as a nation we’re placing increasing value on food that is local, traceable and supports the environment. Plus, school food is in people’s minds with the recent news that Universal Infant Free School Meals are being continued.”

Food for Life Served Here has been cited by the Department for Education as a way to improve school food, and by Government’s Plan for Public Procurement as a way to guarantee a good score across the Plan’s Balanced Scorecard.

Barking and Dagenham Catering Services, which delivers 20,000 school meals every day across 60 schools, recently became one of just a handful of caterers in London to achieve a Gold Food for Life Served Here award.

A gold standard means that at least 15% of ingredients are organic, significant proportions of the ingredients are from the UK or produced locally.

Barking and Dagenham Catering Services school menus are developed in consultation with pupils, parents and schools. The result, it says, is an appetising menu that appeals to young tastes, delivered in a way that is nutritionally-balanced to support pupils throughout their school day.

Manchester Fayre is the largest school caterer in Manchester, and holds a Bronze Food for Life Served Here Award.

Their ‘food station’ approach to school meals means pupils always have a wide selection at lunch time, selecting dishes from areas including Pasta Point, Spud Spot and the Burrito Bar.

A ‘Cook’s choice’ is always on the menu, serving traditional favourites and special themed lunches are held at least once a month to coincide with national celebration days or special events.

Meet-free Mondays have been introduced to support reduction in carbon footprint and help pupils understand the impact of food production on the environment.