School meal provision in Hampshire is at the highest level for over a decade.
More than six million lunches were served to primary pupils by Hampshire County Council caterers (HC3S) last year, the highest amount since 1997 and also greater than the south east England regional average.
In secondary schools 1.7 million meals were served to pupils, representing an increase of almost 5% over the past two years.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, councillor Ken Thornber said: "HC3S works closely with schools, pupils and parents to devise menus that are healthy, taste good and are enjoyed by pupils and this latest increase in meal uptake is testimony to their efforts.
"As well as supporting healthy eating, Hampshire's school meals are also playing an important role in supporting the local economy with a variety of ingredients sourced from local producers. This is particularly important during the current economic climate and also reduces the number of food miles travelled from field to fork."
The price of a school meal for 2011/12 has been frozen and will be £2.00 for a third consecutive year.
HC3S provides meals for more than 440 primary and special schools plus 30 secondary schools across the county using an array of ingredients from 26 local suppliers.
By Gemma Rowbotham
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