Nutritional standards became mandatory in secondary schools this September and the end of the Government's transitional funding is fast approaching (March 2011). So where does this leave school caterers post-Jamie Oliver's 2005 crusade? Caterer and Hotelkeeper, in association with Premier Foods, invited key figures to London's Renaissance Chancery Court hotel to discuss the issues. Janie Stamford reports.
It was clear from the outset of our debate that, despite a general sense of optimism and recognition of the achievements made to date, there was also a very real awareness of the long road ahead and obstacles to come.
In fact, overall uptake of school dinners in secondary schools rose by only 0.5% in the past year and currently sits precariously at 36%, according to the latest annual survey compiled by the School Food Trust (SFT) and the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA).
With industry experts suggesting that a fall to 30% could spell disaster and put an end to school meals forever, the questions remain: can enough growth be achieved to maintain high standards before the £460m transitional funding pot runs dry, and what needs to be done to achieve that growth?
|DISCUSSION PARTICIPANTSBeverley Baker, chairman of Local Authority Caterers Association; head of commercial services, Surrey County Council John Carlin, operations performance leader, Chartwells Tony Davison, business manager, education, at sponsor Premier Foods Arnold Fewell, managing director, AVF Marketing; National School Meals Week organiser; creator of MySchoolLunch.co.uk Nicola Jones, of sponsor Premier Foods Allyson Lloyd, food in schools manager, Croydon Council Lin O'Brien, head of catering, Hertfordshire County Council Peter McGrath, delivery manager, School Food Trust Richard Ware, head of service, Cambridgeshire County Council Catering and Cleaning Services