£40m Bristol school meals contract

25/09/2007 - 00:00
Eden Foodservice will take over the in-house school meals operation in Bristol on October 31st in an eight-year, £40 million contract.

The education arm of Initial catering will be working in partnership with Bristol City Council in managing the school meals service to 126 nursery, primary and secondary schools.
The price of a school meal is rising to £1.95. Changes planned by Eden include: more fresh, traditional and ethnic main meals, a variety of traditional desserts, freshly-baked bread everyday, the introduction of organic vegetables and locally-sourced fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meat. Simon James, managing director of Eden said: "Being awarded the contract to manage Bristol City's school catering service for the next eight years is an acknowledgement of the investment and time we have made improving the quality of school meals nationally and I look forward to implementing those results in Bristol's schools.
"We are currently carrying out intensive practical training is being held for school cooks in the run up to the start of the contract to ensure the new menu, which exceeds Government Nutritional Guidelines, is being produced to our exacting standards." He added that Eden's priority is to offer and promote healthy eating for children with a range of tasty menus. Menus are balanced across the week in order to provide all the nutrients the pupils need.
"One of our greatest skills is putting together favourite recipes that contain lots of 'hidden' healthy ingredients such as vegetables, fruit, pulses, oats, fortified cereals and whole grains." On the new primary menu, for instance, Tuesday will offer children Country Pork Casserole, Fresh Organic Cabbage, Sweetcorn and Creamy Mashed Potatoes followed by Crunchy Plum Crumble and Custard. The pork is low in fat and no salt or oil is used, whilst the Crunchy Plum Crumble contains one full portion of fruit. Tuesday's vegetarian choice will be a Pineapple and Sweetcorn pizza, a recipe that uses a mixture of brown and white flour to increase the amount of fibre for the pupils proving that pizza doesn't have to be unhealthy! Other dishes on the new menu include: Handmade Salmon Fishcakes, Mild Chicken Curry, Topside of Beef with Yorkshire Pudding, Spicy Bean Bake and treats including: Mandarin Mousse Cake, Apple and Apricot Cobbler and Eve's pudding with custard. As well as new menus there will be numerous activities for pupils to take part in. In secondary schools there will be meal deals and a surprise 'Alternative Christmas lunch'. Primary school activities include a colouring competition and on Bonfire Night there is a chance to win a cosy scarf. James says educating pupils about food and healthy lifestyles is an important part of Eden's work and Bristol City schools will be able to enjoy Nutrition Workshops, Healthy Eating Posters and the new 5 Food Rainbow which encourages children to choose a full meal from the essential food groups. There will also be menu leaflets for every parent, a parents' newsletter, Cook at Home recipes, Cooking Classes and Sow and Grow sessions. Liz Fox, Senior Health Promotion Specialist at the PCT says: "In terms of public health, improving children's diets is key to their present and future health and to hear the new nutritional guidelines have been met a year ahead of schedule is extremely promising.
"I look forward to working with Eden to continue the work we started with Bristol's Food for Life programme".

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