Evaluation of the Food for Life programme

Here are some headlines from independent evaluation of the Soil Association Food for Life programme (formerly Food for Life Partnership).

You can read more in our summary reports - A Healthier Place (2016) and Good Food for All (2012).

Healthier People

  • Pupils in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat five a day and a third less likely to eat no fruit or vegetables than pupils in comparison schools. (Jones et al, 2015)
  • Pupils in Food for Life schools eat around a third more fruit and vegetables than pupils in comparison schools, and significantly more fruit and vegetables at home. (Jones et al, 2015)
  • Pupils in Food for Life schools are 40% more likely to report that they 'like' or 'really like' school meals. (Jones et al, 2015)
  • More than 50% of primary schools in England are serving menus certified by the Food for Life Served Here Award
  • Free school meal take up increased by an average of 13 percentage points over two years in Food for Life schools. (Orme et al, 2011)
  • Evidence points towards Food for Life's potential to contribute to helping 'close the gap' for disadvantaged children in terms of their health and academic attainment. (Teeman et al, 2011)
  • 45% of parents reported eating more vegetables as a result of Food for Life. (Orme et al, 2011)

Healthier Economy 

  • Research by the New Economics Foundation demonstrated £3 in social return for every £1 invested in Food for Life Served Here menus, with most of the benefit experienced by local businesses and local employees. (Kersley et al, 2011)
  • Research focusing on Food for Life multi-setting programmes and considering value created for health, education and environment in addition to economy demonstrates a social return of £4.41 for every £1. (Jones el al, 2015)

Healthier Environment

  • Over 1.7 million meals that meet Food for Life Served Here standards are served each day, including over 280,000 at Gold. The scheme provides caterers with an incentive to source more sustainably sourced, ethical and local produce. 

You can the summary and full evaluation reports to download in our evaluation reports section:

You can also find further reference material in our policy reports section.

  • A 28% increase in primary school-age children reporting eating 5-a-day.
  • 45% of parents said their family was eating more vegetables, with 43% switching to healthier and more sustainable choices in the shopping basket.