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School Food Matters investigates how much it costs to create a healthy school meal

21st Feb 2024 - 07:00
School Food Matters investigates how much it costs to create healthy school meal
School Food Matters, the charity which teaches children about food, is investigating what it costs to produce a healthy and sustainable school meal.

The project will be supported and guided by a Project Advisory Group made up of practitioners from across the supply chain, from school food suppliers to commissioners. The group will be chaired by immediate past chair of LACA Brad Pearce. This research has been funded by Impact on Urban Health.

A spokesperson for School Food Matters commented: “The research falls under our flagship Healthy Zones programme and will be conducted by Bremner and Co in partnership with Cohesion Consulting from February to July 2024.

“It will cover meals served in primary, secondary, special schools and alternative provision settings in England. It will bring together partners from across the school food sector to gather evidence and build consensus on a recommended price for a school meal.

“Funding for school food in England has been allocated at different rates depending on factors such as schools’ settings, types, and locations. The current levels of funding are felt by many to be inadequate, but what level should funding be set at?”

School Food Matters will be working with partners to:

  • Review and develop data on current school meal costs, within different settings, phases and governance types, including special schools and alternative provision settings
  • Identify the relative proportion of different costs, including ingredients, staffing, equipment, capital infrastructure and overheads
  • Review costings through the lens of healthy, sustainable food quality assurance and policy frameworks, for example, Government buying standards
  • Compare the relative cost of optimally nutritious and sustainable vs. standard meals, and explain any difference in cost
  • Use this information and analysis to develop a recommended per-meal rate
Written by
Edward Waddell