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Scottish organisations join forces to create discussion paper on free school meals

Jayne Jones, chair of ASSIST FM
Jayne Jones, chair of ASSIST FM
22 Jun 2021
Following the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) for primary school children by 2022, a working group of 15 organisations from across the school food sector has convened to create a discussion paper.

The discussion paper aims to outline the key opportunities and recommendations for maximising the benefits for Scottish children, young people and the environment. Free school meals provide children access to a daily healthy and nutritious meals to fuel their learning.

Jayne Jones, chair of ASSIST FM, commented: “The Scottish Government and local authorities have set strong foundations for providing universal, good quality and sustainably sourced school food.

“UFSM is a unique opportunity to build on these foundations and allow the public food sector to lead the way towards realising the access to ‘Good Food’ with meals served setting the tone for Scotland’s relationship with producers and providers as a ‘Good Food Nation’.”

The discussion paper makes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Prioritising local procurement of ethical and sustainably produced school food ingredients.
  • Encouraging local authorities to adopt the Soil Association’s Food For Life Served Here (FFLSH)
  • Adopting a clear and measurable standard for good school food by revising and mandating Better Eating, Better Learning.

Sarah Duley, head of food at Soil Association Scotland, added: “The expansion of universal free school meal provision has enormous potential to deliver on a range of policy areas, from health to environmental, and bring us closer to becoming a good food nation.

“Increasing access to sustainably produced, locally sourced and freshly prepared food through the uptake of our Food for Life Scotland programme will help ensure that this is the case and that school meals deliver on their potential.

“We encourage policymakers to read this report carefully and consider not just the cost of a school meal but the value.”

Read the full discussion paper here