Sodexho has won the Richmond school meals contract that rival Compass Group dumped last month after claiming a lack of investment had made the service commercially unviable.
As revealed in Caterer and Hotelkeeper earlier this month, Sodexho has won a four-year deal with the London Borough to cater at 39 primary and special schools worth £4.7m over the length of the contract.
Compass, which pulled out of its 10-year deal with Richmond six years in, said at the time that although it had introduced menus that met the new school meals guidelines it could not "continue to support the service provision in the longer term without further investment".
However, Sodexho appears undaunted and has developed what it describes as a new service for the borough's schools called Just Joules.
Sodexho claims the new scheme will make lunchtimes fun and attractive to children, while educating them to choose healthy grub.
Jeremy Alderton, Sodexho's director of business development, said of the new menu: "There is a strong emphasis on nutrition and the lifestyle benefits of healthy eating and there will be regular communication with pupils and parents."
Private school meals caterers such as Compass are becoming increasingly picky about the contracts they run with the latest research on uptake showing secondary school levels at their lowest ever and primary meal uptake down, also.
Compass UK boss Ian El-Mokadem warned just last week that school meals reform was moving too fast and could jeopardise the service.
By Chris Druce
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