Award-winning meals for Inverclyde

Award-winning meals for Inverclyde

Image: Sarah Gowanlock, Food for Life Scotland, presents Linda Knox, Inverclyde Council, with the Food for Life Served Here Bronze award certificate at Newark Primary School. 

Inverclyde Council’s catering team have achieved the Food for Life Served Here Bronze award for the fifth year in a row. The council, which first received the award in 2019 for its 20 primary school sites, has this year added its 19 early years sites to the award – and is now serving around 5,000 nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced Food for Life meals every day.

The hard work and dedication of all involved has once again been recognised by the widely respected and independently assessed scheme led by Soil Association Scotland and funded by Scottish Government. The Food for Life Scotland programme provides a framework through which local authorities can ensure they are serving food that’s good for health, the environment, and the economy. This is done by following a set of standards to achieve the Food for Life Served Here award at Bronze, Silver or Gold level.

The Bronze award recognises that a minimum of 75 percent of dishes are freshly prepared from unprocessed ingredients. Meals are also free from undesirable trans fats, sweeteners, additives and all genetically modified ingredients. Catering teams also use free range eggs, higher welfare meat and ingredients from sustainable and ethical sources.

Children enjoy fresh, locally-sourced and sustainable school meals, including chicken fajitas, salmon fishcake, and tomato and basil pasta. Seasonal vegetables are supplied by Glasgow-based George Carruthers & Sons Ltd, while McLays supply farm-assured meat. The council catering team produces a provenance map, showing where ingredients are sourced, which is displayed in all dining areas and distributed to parents on an annual basis.

Inverclyde recently became one of the first council areas in Scotland to offer free school meals for all primary pupils. In May, the council’s education and communities committee unanimously agreed that every child from P1-7 can access a healthy, nutritious lunch at no cost to their families from the start of the 2023/23 term in August.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council’s convener of education and communities, said: “This is a terrific achievement for our education service and catering staff across our primaries and nurseries and follows on from another major accolade with Inverclyde recently becoming the first council area in Scotland to provide free school meals to all primary pupils from the start of the new term in August.

“It is worthy recognition for staff who are producing quality meals day in, day out to ensure our children and young people are fuelled to learn and fulfil their potential.
“We have among the best educational facilities in Scotland, if not the UK, providing a modern learning environment for pupils to learn and staff to teach and excellent kitchen facilities for our catering teams to deliver healthy and nutritious lunches.”

Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Inverclyde Council for renewing their Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award for another year. This is a huge achievement and shows that staff are dedicated to providing pupils with a hot, nutritious meal that’s healthy, freshly prepared and sustainably produced. In the context of the cost-of-living crisis, access to a hot, nutritious school meal has never been more important, and we would like to thank catering teams in Inverclyde for the care and hard work they put in to delivering this every single day.”