More than half of all primary schools in England are serving food that is ethical, sustainable, free from additives and meets School Food Standards.
That's according to the Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark, which provides an independent endorsement for caterers that are taking steps to improve the food they serve.
The Catering Mark now serves more than 1.6 million meals to schools, nurseries, hospitals, universities, workplaces and other venues. Schools make up around 90% of this figure.
Sunderland City Council and North Yorkshire County Caterers are the most recent school caterers to receive their bronze Catering Mark. These new awards have increased the number of primary school Catering Mark standards meals to more than 50%.
North Yorkshire County Caterers achieved the award for their in-house catering in schools. They serve 22,063 primary school meals and 11,934 secondary school meals per day, across a total of 296 sites.
Rich Watts, senior manager for Catering Mark, said: "The Catering Mark recognises the importance of freshly prepared, ethical and sustainable school food and provides a framework for caterers to achieve it.
There are three levers of Catering Mark on the scheme, Bronze, Silver and Gold. They are rewarded for every percentage of spend on ethical, environmentally friendly food and locally sourced ingredients.
The Catering Mark has been cited by NHS England as a way to improve hospital food, and by the Department for Education as a national framework to support caterers to increase uptake of quality school meals.
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