More farm-assured meat on school menus

New figures announced by Food for Life Scotland (FFLS) to celebrate Roast Dinner Day 2018 show a huge increase in spend on Scottish meat by local authorities holding the Food for Life Served Here award for their school meals.

The City of Edinburgh 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. The Council have been working to increase the quantity of farm-assured Scottish meat on school menus since gaining their Food for Life Served Here Bronze award in 2013, with 80% of their fresh meat and fish now sourced in Scotland.

Argyll and Bute Council increased their spend on Scottish-sourced meat by 65% between 2014 and 2016, from £32,846 to £54,356. The council attained the Bronze Food the Life Served Here award for their primary school meals in 2013.

The Food for Life Scotland programme, funded by Scottish Government and delivered by Soil Association Scotland, supports councils to get more local food on the table, and serve freshly-prepared and sustainable meals in their schools. Achievement is independently certified with the Food for Life Served Here at three levels – Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Cllr Ian Perry, Convener of Education, Children and Families at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “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. 80% of our fresh meat is now sourced in Scotland, and we’re working on a pilot project to increase our sourcing local vegetables. Our Food for Life Served Here Bronze award gives parents confidence in the meals we are serving in the city’s schools. Just last month all Councillors were served a school lunch after the meeting of the Council – supported by our local suppliers – which went down a treat!”

Aoife Behan, Director of Food and Policy at Soil Association Scotland, said “Scotland has an outstanding natural larder, and FFLS helps more of our world class food and drink make it onto the public sector plate. Eating less but better quality meat is an important step in improving our health and safeguarding the natural environment. Using farm-assured Scottish meat not only guarantees it’s high quality, it also helps local businesses, farmers, butchers and suppliers, and, because it’s being cooked from scratch, it’s supporting skills in the kitchen and in the workforce too.

“Public procurement of local and sustainable food is one of the most effective mechanisms for driving transformation in food production and supply. Across the country, Food for Life Scotland is helping to create the demand for local produce that drives a thriving local economy.”

Kate Rowell, Chair of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), the organisation which promotes the Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork brands on behalf of the Scottish red meat industry, welcomed the news.

“This increase in spend on quality, farm-assured Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork by Edinburgh Council and Argyll and Bute Council is fantastic news and a great vote of confidence in the hard work by Scottish farmers to produce products which offer world-leading levels of traceability and welfare standards,” said Mrs Rowell.

“We look forward to other Scottish local authorities seizing the opportunity to increase their Scotch Beef PGI, Scotch Lamb PGI and Specially Selected Pork offerings in order to provide the best possible local, fresh red meat for the next generation.”

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