Food for Life as the standard across the board

🏆 FFLSH since 2015   🏫 18,600 meals daily in 87 primaries & 22 secondaries

In 2012, City of Edinburgh Council decided to trial Bronze Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) in two schools and one residential care home. By 2015, all schools in Edinburgh had achieved the Bronze award, and six council-run care homes also achieved Bronze. In 2016, the Silver Award was trialled in two schools and a residential care home.

In the process, City of Edinburgh Council shortened its supply chain, improved access to public market for Scottish producers, developed skills of its workforce, and supported local and rural economies. The council and FFL communicated changes with stakeholders and improved the public perception of school meals, and what's more, there was no overall increase in costs associated with the Bronze award, partly due to less wastage in buying higher quality meat.

Putting Scottish produce onto school plates

FFLSH provided a framework to increase the amount of farm-assured, Scottish red meat on Edinburgh's school menus. This means it’s produced on farms which are inspected by accredited inspectors from Quality Meat Scotland (QMS). This is to assure that UK minimum standards on animal welfare are being met.

While working towards their Bronze FFLSH award, the council took a fresh look at its butcher meat, where it came from, and how it was prepared. As a result of gaining their award, Edinburgh City Council’s schools spent almost £220,000 on Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork in 2016/17, compared to just over £16,000 in 2013/14.

“As a council, where our food is sourced from is extremely important to us. We’ve worked hard in conjunction with the Food for Life Scotland programme to increase our procurement of Scottish produce and it’s had a huge impact. Our Food for Life Served Here Bronze award gives parents confidence in the meals we are serving in the city’s schools."

Cllr Ian Perry, Convener of Education, Children and Families

Working with suppliers to overcome barriers to good food

One issue for the council was whether its existing supplier could provide farm-assured meat from Scotland in the quantity required and at the right price.

Food for Life Scotland had an established relationship with Campbells Prime Meat, who already had the contract to supply meat to the City of Edinburgh Council. The company met with FFLS and QMS to see how it might work with its producers to supply Scottish farm-assured meat to the council through its existing farm-assured meat supply chain.

Campbells Prime Meat has also recognised the benefits. Christopher Campbell comments, “We supply farm-assured and Scottish-assured meat to many public sector sites, but schools are at the forefront. In this day and age, food provenance is very important to customers and the Catering Mark [Food for Life Served Here] means people know their food is local and fresh."

Fresh thinking with Food for Life training

Food for Life Scotland provides free training to local authorities who hold or are working towards a Food for Life Served Here award for their school meals service.

Catering staff from City of Edinburgh Council took part in a seasonality training session delivered by FFLS at Liberton High School. 

A delicious selection of UK-grown veg was supplied by George Andersons & Sons, including East Lothian rhubarb, Scottish carrots, and Scottish parsley. After a tasting session, cooks got stuck in to prepare a seasonal feast for lunch, working together on a series of dishes including:

🥦 Broccoli and cheese baked potato

🧀 Popeye cheese straws

🥕 Roasted carrot humous (nut free)

🧄 Wild garlic pesto

Food for Life Scotland Ambassador for Edinburgh

Franklin Hernandez, High School Cook, Castlebrae High School, has been awarded as the Food for Life Scotland Ambassador for Edinburgh City. Franklin has been working closely with the home economics teacher at Castlebrae High to develop a holistic approach to raising awareness of what a healthy and sustainable diet is. He has organised a farm trip for pupils and will be setting up a grow garden so that fresh produce can be used in the school kitchen, connecting the dots between what’s being grown outside and what’s being served on plates.