What is Food for Life Scotland?
About Food for Life Scotland
Food for Life is a UK-wide Soil Association programme that works to make good food the easy choice for everyone.
In Scotland, we are funded by the Scottish Government to get more good food onto public sector plates. We support local authorities to serve more fresh, local and sustainable meals in their schools. We’re also trialling how we can extend the award to new public sector settings, too, through the Food for Life Scotland Public Sector Expansion Pilot in Glasgow. Our aim is to scale the award in other areas of Scotland in the future.
The Food for Life Scotland team supports public sector sites in Scotland to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award for their meals services.
By being part of the Food for Life Scotland programme, local authorities and public sector catering teams are:
- reassuring parents and pupils that their school meals are responsibly sourced and freshly prepared by trained cooks.
- providing meals that support students to meet their highest learning potential.
- improving the nation’s health by putting more fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and wholegrains on the menu.
- protecting the environment for the future by reducing food miles and championing sustainable producers.
- supporting a thriving local economy by putting more Scottish food on the table.
- contributing to a Good Food Nation where all public sector meals are good for health, good for the environment and good for the local economy.
The Food for Life Served Here Award for Schools in Scotland
We recognise and reward local authorities that are serving fresh, local and sustainable food by certifying their school meals with the Food for Life Served Here award. It’s a recognised and respected mark of quality, available at three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Food for Life Served Here standards are set by an independent Standards Committee, which is made up of industry experts from a wide range of sectors. The Food for Life Scotland team is on hand to help local authorities identify which standards they are already meeting for their school meals, and support them as they work towards a Food for Life Served Here award.
The Food for Life Scotland Public Sector Expansion Pilot
As part of this pilot, Food for Life Scotland will research expanding into other public sector settings, initially focusing on Glasgow, including the NHS, prisons, care homes, further and higher education settings, and council-run leisure and culture facilities. A combination of place-based activity in Glasgow and national intelligence gathering will provide a scalable framework for bringing Food for Life to other parts of Scotland in the future. Find out more about the Food for Life Scotland Public Sector Expansion Pilot.
Standards for Bronze award holders
The Bronze level represents a significant step for most caterers towards improving food standards. To achieve Bronze Food for Life Served Here, meals must meet 13 key standards.
Standards for Silver and Gold award holders
The Silver and Gold Food for Life Served Here awards use a points system. In addition to meeting all of the Bronze standards, you need points for food served in three categories: sourcing ethical and environmentally friendly food, making healthy eating easier, and championing local producers.
Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Food
At Silver and Gold award levels, a proportion of your total ingredient spend must be on organic produce. Organic food is produced using environmentally friendly farming methods and the highest standards of animal welfare, which are strictly regulated.
To achieve Silver, a minimum of 5% of the ingredient spend on your Food for Life Served Here menu must be organic. To achieve Gold, a minimum of 15% of your ingredient spend must be on organic food and at least 5% on free range pork and poultry.
Further points are awarded for ethical and environmentally friendly food such as:
- Free range meat
- Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish
- RSPCA Assured
- Sustainable palm oil
Making Healthy Eating Easier
You can gain points in this category for a range of actions in line with Scottish Government health priorities, including:
- Using herbs, spices, or lemon as alternative seasoning instead of salt
- Carrying out pupil surveys to identify popular healthy dishes
- Reducing the ratio of sugar to flour in sweet recipes to 1:2 or less
- Making fruit or vegetables available as snacks or a dessert choice
The Food for Life Scotland team can help you identify the actions that are right for your menu.
Championing Local Producers
Points are awarded for every penny spent on food produced in Scotland, and for above average UK sourcing levels.
Sourcing produce locally helps support local farmers and local businesses. Our research has shown that every £1 invested by FFLSH certified local authorities over three years can give a social return on investment of £4.41 in value into the local economy.
Read The Full Standards
Download the full Soil Association Food for Life Served Here standards handbook for schools. Use the handbook to find suggestions on meeting our standards and guidance for the inspection.Download the standards