The Government has been urged not to undo the progress made in healthy school meal provision by local authority caterers.
Speaking at the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) annual conference, LACA chair Beverley Baker said support for healthy school meal provision would be repaid by savings to the NHS in the long term.
She told the delegates that children's attainment was linked to healthy eating and that continued investment would mean short term benefits for the educational system and long term results for the health service.
"It should be obvious that accessibility to an affordable school meal for every child will deliver benefits that far outweigh the costs," she added.
The three-day conference saw the ceremonial handover of the position of chair from Beverley Baker to current national vice-chair Sandra Russell. The official transition will take place in September.