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School meals in the UK are in crisis

With budget cuts and increased food costs, caterers are left to pick up the pieces and do the best they can with extremely limited resources. This is how we end up with the school meals regularly featured in the press, full of beige, uninspired food that will do no good for growing, learning children.

There is a way out of this. Food for Life has been working in the school food sector for over twenty years, innovating and pioneering approaches to school food that provide healthy and sustainable meals for children despite budget strains and supply chain issues.

We’re here to help caterers work within this challenging environment, guiding them through the Food for Life framework and working together to make healthy and sustainable food the outcome, with at least 75% of dishes on our certified caterers' menus freshly prepared from minimally processed ingredients.

We want to change food culture within schools, from root to tip. Whether it’s the canteen or the classroom, food education and quality should be a priority. A child is much more likely to eat a vegetable they’ve grown themselves, and pupils in Food for Life schools are 40% more likely to report that they 'like' or 'really like' school meals.

Every child deserves access to healthy and sustainable food, and these standards should be upheld across all schools. Across the UK there are currently over 1.2 million Food for Life certified meals served per day, including within 6013 schools and early years setting, so we know it can be done.

However, children can’t access these opportunities and establish good food habits without appropriate investment into school meals and the teams that prepare and serve them each day.