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Aberdeenshire Council achieves national award for its school meals

Aberdeenshire Council achieves national award for its school meals

Catering teams across Aberdeenshire are celebrating today as the council renews its Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award for all its primary schools.

The hard work and dedication of staff 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. 

Aberdeenshire first achieved the award in 2014 and the council is now serving around 15,000 Food for Life school meals every day across 150 primary schools and 4 ASN schools.

The bronze award recognises that a minimum of 75% 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.

Aberdeenshire Council has established strong relationships with local suppliers since achieving the award, providing a valuable source of income for Scottish businesses. For example, fruit and vegetables are supplied by TPS Fruit and Veg Ltd of Turriff and meat is bought from Aberdeen based butcher McWilliam.

Cooks and supervisors have completed Food for Life standards online training on seasonality and provenance, which they can then filter down to colleagues. The Food for Life team and Aberdeenshire Council are also currently working towards making the online training accessible via the council’s Catering Hub.

Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, Sarah Duley, said, “Congratulations to Aberdeenshire Council to renewing their Food for Life Served Here bronze award for another year. School meals fuel young people’s learning, but can also help tackle climate change, create local jobs, and contribute to a fairer, more resilient food system. They are an investment in the future of our young people, our economy, and our environment, and are more important than ever as a nutritional safety net during the current cost of living crisis.

Aberdeenshire Council’s chair of Education and Children’s Services Committee Cllr Gillian Owen, said, “I'd like to say a huge congratulations to the Aberdeenshire catering team which continues to be recognised and respected for the food it provides our children and young people.

“Special thanks goes to our Catering Service Managers Ian Paterson and Liz Powell for the work they do in the background in ensuring we continue to provide pupils a quality, nutritious and value for money meal experience that children and young people have come to expect. I’d also like to thank our Catering Business Support Officer Lorna Murray who spearheads the Food For Life Served Here award for School Catering. 

“This recognition is a testament of our use of local quality ingredients wherever possible and we greatly appreciate pupils eating with us. I know the catering team is passionate about what they do and are rightly proud of the food they serve.”