School Food Standards

You will know from reading my last blog that we introduced our new menus that comply with the “School Food Standards” early, straight after October half term, despite the fact they are not enforced until January 2015.
Boy with cow

The reason we have done this is so that the Schools, their children and staff, and our own staff, were invited to provide valuable feedback to us as to how popular they were, and what if anything needed changing to ensure we got as many children and staff as possible eating our food.

We have been delighted with the level of feedback and how positive everybody has been regarding the menus. However, I think it is fair to say the feedback has fallen into two categories:

1. A preference to change a particular dish for something that would be more popular, as it is true to say each school has its own likes and dislikes. It is surprising how two schools can have different tastes

2. That the kitchen facilities within the school (particularly in primary schools where we now have Universal Infant Free School Meals) are able to cope with the level of cooking because in some instances we have had to think about changing the menu so we evenly split the cooking process between the hob and the oven
When the menus are reintroduced after the Christmas break in January, they will have been individually tweaked to suit the specific school and their respective children and staff. So you have a more bespoke menu but it will still comply with the “School Food Standards”.

The next time we change these menus will be in the summer, when once again we will repeat the process and use the feedback from the current set of menus. Each time every school will have a bespoke menu so that we continually ensure we maximise the uptake.

We also have to take into account, when writing these bespoke menus, the “Food Information Regulations 2014 (Allergens)” that become effective on 13th December 2014.

The EC law has listed 14 allergens that need to be identified if they are used as ingredients in a dish. This means that we will need to provide information about the allergenic ingredients we use. This is why it is important the menus are written by our Food Development Team, based on the feedback they receive for each individual school, so we now comply with both the “School Food Standards” and the “Food Information Regulations”.

Food for thought!