Independent caterer Edwards & Ward has won its largest deal to date with the award of the school dinners contract for Gloucestershire, Caterersearch has learned.
Estimated to be worth three to four million in annual turnover, the deal covers around 250 schools in the country and will see the caterer serving some 10,000 meals a day.
Edwards & Wards currently runs school meals services in North Somerset and Wokingham, Berkshire and the new deal is a major coup for the caterer, which was set by Mike Edwards and Mike Ward up in 1999.
However the decision has angered former Gloucestershire school meals provider Sodexo, which said in a statement:
"We are disappointed that we have not been re-awarded the catering contract for the primary schools in Gloucestershire as we have worked closely and successfully with the council, schools, parents and pupils for a number of years.
"During our time in Gloucestershire, we have improved the quality of school meals, implemented the Government guidelines two years ahead of the deadlines and seen up-take increase.
"We have run a number of educational activities, including visits from Ready Steady Cook celebrity chef Paul Rankin and the young Olympic diver Tom Daley, to help increase children's awareness of the importance of a healthy diet and lifestyle.
"However although we did bid for the new contract it was impossible for us to comply with the council's contractual requirements."
In December Sodexo announced plans to withdraw from its £6m Milton Keynes school meals contract to avoid compromising standards.
By Chris Druce
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