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LACA Autumn Business Seminar examines obesity plan

16 Nov 2016

The continuing rise in rates of obesity among young people in the UK, and what might be done to mitigate it, was the focus of discussion at the LACA Autumn Business Seminar in Warwick on November 11th.

More than 130 delegates gathered at the Hilton Warwick for a packed morning of presentations.

The event kicked off with a panel debate on the Childhood Obesity Plan, which was chaired by David Foad, editor of Cost Sector Catering and School Caterer magazines.

LACA chair Sally Shadrack, Children’s Food Trust chief executive Linda Cregan and PS100 Group chairman Andy Jones comprised the experts on the panel.

The seminar then moved onto an update on the proposed LACA research project to evaluate the impact of UIFSM on health and attainment.

Peter Sellen, chief economist at the Education Policy Institute, said the EPI had been commissioned by LACA to carry out this evaluation and outlined how this would happen over the next year.

Tim Blowers, vice chair of LACA, presented School Meal Research Uptake that had involved 775,000 children within schools across 24 local authorities.

He said: “These findings are part one of a research project designed to analyse the UIFSM scheme within Key Stage 1 and 2.

“It’s part of a four-year plan to get take-up data. It’s difficult to get accurate figures because schools don’t record them properly and we have a challenge separating out the UIFSM, FSM and overall Key Stage 1 figures."

Andrew Archer, managing director of Dewberry Redpoint told the seminar about an opportunity open to a secondary school to win a marketing package worth up to £15,000 in services and product to provide a marketing and operational makeover. The competition is being run with the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI).

The deadline to be considered for the prize is Christmas 2016 and entry is online through the LACA website.

The final session of the seminar was from Andrew Ferguson, executive development chef with the St Helen’s School Catering Service, who talked about his newly created role to improve meal uptake in the borough’s schools.

“Our starting point was data that showed 21% of children going into Reception year were already obese. My role is to help improve their diets, develop the skills of cooks and help head teachers understand the benefits to children of regular, hot school lunches,” he said.

For a full report on the seminar click on the Word document atached below.