We spoke to Penny Richards, Divisional Director, about their work with Food for Life Served Here over the last 10 years.
Why did you want to become a Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) award holder?
We don’t go for many awards, but the fit was right. We really believe in the standards, they very much linked with our food ethos. We were one of the first of our kind to achieve the accreditation, it really resonated with us as we were already cooking fresh food and looking to source more fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.
How do you feel your sector has changed in the last 10 years?
Universal Infant Free School Meals has been the biggest change, feeding more Key Stage 1 pupils.
We work with a nutritionist and have done lots around reducing sugar and saturated fats. Also salt reduction in burgers, sausages and meatballs working with our butchers.
We also work with our development team to add flavour to dishes. We’re helping to develop pupils’ tastes.
Are there any suppliers that worked closely with you or really stood out for you in supporting you on your FFLSH journey?
We go on such a journey with our schools, in Gloucestershire we have 190 schools with Served Here from day one using a local butcher sourcing from surrounding farms.
We use regional suppliers for fruit and vegetables and butchers who are our linchpins, sourcing Red Tractor, organic and free range meats, all British and high quality and are benefiting the local economy.
Favourite meals change constantly, even schools less than a mile apart can have different favourites.
The classics are still on the menu, firm favourites are roast chicken dinner and MSC fish on Friday but favourites can be regional too, in London it’s dishes like tagine and in other regions it’s our cottage pie.
Our yoghurt and fruit stations are now really popular.