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Eden denies it will quit state school catering

31 August 2006

Eden Foodservice (formerly Initial Catering Services, part of Rentokil Initial) has denied speculation it will pull out of the state school market.

The claim followed the release of poor results last week, which saw operating profit at Eden and its Autograph business and industry division fall by 33% on the back of flat turnover.

Food service consultant Richard Wedgbury called the drop "a major problem". He said: "I can see the time when Rentokil will say enough is enough and pull out of the state school market. In September food spend will have to go up, but the Government still hasn't put enough money in the pot to help caterers."

Although the company is still reeling in the wake of Jamie Oliver's TV series, as meal uptake struggles to recover, Eden managing director Simon James denied a pullout was on the cards.

"We've had no indication of that at all from Rentokil," he said. "We're currently fully geared up to meeting the new nutritional standards in September.

In April, Eden refused to extend its contract with Bracknell Forest local education authority in Berkshire because it was not financially viable.

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