Switching to local suppliers

22/05/2009 - 00:00
Leicestershire schools are now serving up local produce to their pupils to reduce food miles and strengthen the regional economy.

The School Food Support Service (SFSS) appointed three suppliers in the county to provide the ingredients for the meals on the new school meals menu for this year.
Fruit and vegetables are being sourced from Country Fresh in Syston and Redbridge in Leicester, and beef from Parker Fine Foods, also in Leicester. The meat is being distributed by Brakes, their frozen food contractor.

Among the dishes on offer are Leicestershire roast beef, cottage pie, roast ham with pineapple and parsley sauce, Quorn tikka masala, lamb bolognese and Leicestershire braised beef steak with onion gravy. The menu puts an emphasis on seasonal produce, too, offering the vegetables available and at their best rather than a fixed range of side dishes, and a changing 'local garden salad.'

The new menus comply with the government's nutrient based standards for school lunches that came into force in September 2008.

Ivan Ould, lead member for Children and Young People's Service, said: "It's important to demonstrate our commitment to finding the best ingredients locally and keeping the number of miles that food travels as low as possible.
"We also want to encourage pupils to try new things – we all have a tendency to stick with what we know. We'll put one popular vegetable on the menu, but the rest will change according to what's in season…so if leeks are in season, for example, the kids will be invited to try them."

SFSS is part of Leicestershire County Council's Children and Young People's Service. Its aim is to support and advise schools on their catering and school food in general. Meanwhile the School Food Support Service aims to encourage all school children in Leicestershire to have a nutritionally balanced diet in the school environment, to promote healthy development and growth and to give the school community support and guidance.

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