Evaluation of the Food for Life programme

Food for Life works across communities, settings, sectors, and industry to empower people to transform food cultures. We embed change where the greatest impact is needed and can be felt.

Since 2003 the evolution of Food for Life has been widely documented and researched through independent evaluations, peer reviewed articles and, more recently, through our impact-led analysis of our programmes, awards, and certifications.

Recent reports:

Schools & Early Years – Local Authority Partnerships

Local Authority Partners – Commissioned area reports (2020 - Present)


‘Over 27,000 pupils in 102 schools are gaining life skills, cooking healthy dishes, growing and composting, all linked to wider learning’ – Leicestershire commission report – 2023

Communities

Food for Life Get Togethers – End of Programme Headlines report (2023)

"The Get Togethers Network Events have fulfilled a latent demand for practical guidance and peer support and collaborations around community scale action on good food." Professor Matthew Jones, University of the West of England

Sustainable Catering

Food for Life Served Here - Our Impact (2020 - 2021)

‘As we grapple with the climate and nature crises, plus supply chain disruptions and food insecurity... it is heartening to see clear evidence that Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) and the Green Kitchen Standard (GKS) support catering businesses to provide sustainable meals and show a traceable supply chain.’ - report foreword - Helen Browning CEO Soil Association

Food for Life programme

A Healthier Place: The Impact of Food for life programme - (full programme review) (2016)

‘In my long career in public health I can honestly say that one of the most valuable things I have ever done was to support the development of the Food for Life programme. There are few public health interventions that have the potential to make such a powerful contribution to improving the health of the whole population.’ Gabriel Scally - Visiting Professor of Public Health, University of Bristol and University of the West of England

Food for Life – Social Return on Investment

Food for Life: An SROI analysis of the locally commissioned programme Summary Report (UWE 2016)

This study found that FFL is valued by schools, civil society, local business and wider stakeholders as a locally commissioned programme in local authority areas. The Social Return on Investment (SROI) provides a financial measure of this value: that for every £1 spent on FFL there is social value of £4.41 created over a three year period. - Report findings – UWE

Key Impacts:

We empower caterers to help improve the food on their plates:
  • 1.2 million Food for Life Served Here certified meals are served in the UK EVERY DAY.
  • At least 75% of dishes on FFLSH menus are freshly prepared from minimally processed ingredients.
  • 61% of energy intake from school meals in UK primary schools comes from ultra-processed food – Food for Life helps to combat this.
We empower educational settings to transform school food cultures:
  • Our Schools programme currently reaches 250,000 children across the UK, embedding the whole school approach in 598 education settings.
  • Pupils in Food for Life schools are twice as likely to eat five a day than pupils in comparison schools.
  • Pupils in Food for Life schools are 40% more likely to report that they 'like' or 'really like' school meals.
We support communities to connect through good food

My Food Community – leadership development course
  • 68% of participants regarded themselves as a community leader in food activities after taking part in My Food Community
  • 46% developed ‘extremely strong’ skills to create change in food systems
Community engagement campaigns (Cook & Share / Plant & Share)
  • 98% decided to continue or grow their community food activities after being involved in the campaigns
  • Participating in the campaigns enhanced positive attitudes towards ageing (64%) and diversity (68%), addressed loneliness and isolation (83%) and helped people connect with each other (99%)
We influence food policy in support of climate, nature and health

  • Ultra Processed Food – Learning to Eat – The role of schools in addressing ultra-processed diets - “If giving children more access to fresh ingredients and teaching them where food comes from and how to cook it sounds like an obvious solution, it’s because it is. Pupils at Food for Life schools eat more fruit and vegetables not because they’ve been told to, but because they’ve been inspired to.”
  • National Food Strategy - "The Government should require all schools to work with accreditation schemes such as Food for Life to improve school food and food education."
Deeper reading - Reports and articles across the years:

Food for Life Partnership evaluations

Peer review articles

Policy Reports