Despite last week's revelation that school meal uptake in Scotland had dropped to its lowest level since 1999, one council has bucked the trend by increasing consumption by 10% in the past 12 months.
Midlothian Council, which now provides one million school meals a year, has expanded secondary school meal uptake to 70.7%, making it the best-performing mainland authority. A Scottish Executive report found that average uptake across the country was 47.3%.
The council's initiatives go far beyond healthy menus. Catering staff and managers talk regularly with pupils and parents, and menus and newsletters are sent to pupils' homes.
The council has also introduced value meal deals and a points system for healthier foods, rewarding pupils with iPod prizes. Deep-fat frying has been replaced with oven baking.
Councillor Derek Milligan, Midlothian council's member for commercial services, said: "Our catering team and schools are working very hard to deliver the healthiest meals which pupils want to eat."
- The Scottish Executive's progress report into the six-year, £134m Hungry for Success programme showed that 46.1% of students on the day of the census ate school meals, against 46.4% seven years ago.