Highland Council achieves Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award for the 14th time
Highland Council’s catering team are celebrating after the council renewed its Food for Life Served Here Bronze award for an incredible 14th time.
The council, which first received the award for its primary school meals back in 2009, is now serving over 11,611 nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced Food for Life meals in its 161 primary schools and 166 nurseries every day.
And that number will grow during the colder months, highlighting the importance of the Highland catering service.
The benefits go beyond the food on the plate - the Food for Life Served Here award links directly to the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan to 2027, delivering on outcomes and priorities around diversifying the economy, improving markets, and tackling unemployment.
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.
According to Sue Nield, catering services manager with Highland Council, achieving FFLSH Bronze was fairly straightforward because what the council’s catering service was already doing fitted with the principles of Food for Life.
"We have always been a passionate team and we care about where our ingredients come from,” said Sue Nield, Catering Services Manager with Highland Council.
“Achieving FFLSH Bronze is a testament to the catering teams hard work, as what we strive to work towards within the catering service fits well with the principles of Food for Life. The council has long supported local food and promoted supply opportunities to local suppliers.”
Highland Council works with local suppliers to source produce for its school meals. Inverness-based Swanson’s Food Wholesalers supply fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh herbs, milk and eggs.
Highland Council source produce from within the region where possible, and have used seasonal produce including:
- Romanesco cauliflower and
- rhubarb that was grown within a 10-mile radius of Inverness.
Pupils enjoy nutritious, sustainable and locally-sourced meals, including local fruit crumbles and sponges, soups and seasonal vegetable accompaniments.
Highland caterers are also working with pupils to help them learn more about healthy eating, seasonality and where their food comes from.
In Balloch Primary School’s small vegetable garden, the school grew potatoes, fresh herbs, rhubarb and apples, which were added to soups and cakes on the school meals menu.
In Broadford Primary the pupils provide potatoes, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, courgettes, beans, sprouts, kale leeks radishes which are all used in in the school meals to provide salads, vegetable accompaniments and even kale chips.
At Croy Primary School, Food for Life Scotland Ambassador Anja Fuglestad hosts cooking lessons, growing projects and seasonal picnics to encourage pupils to try new flavours and to give them the knowledge they need to make better food choices.
Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of The Highland Council’s Education Committee, said: “I am delighted that our school catering team is being recognised nationally for their year on year success in serving nutritious, locally sourced and sustainable produce in our schools.
“I would like to congratulate the many staff involved and our local suppliers for more than a decades long partnership in feeding our children and young people good quality and healthy meals. The team are essential in the wider education of our school pupils through their passion and knowledge on the importance of eating and cooking a quality and balanced diet.”
Sarah Duley, Head of Food, Food for Life Scotland, said: “We would like to congratulate Highland 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 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 Highland for the care and hard work they put in to delivering this every single day.”