Brexit and school nutrition standards

We recently read a BBC article reporting that school meal nutrition standards may need to be amended, or discarded, in the case of a no-deal Brexit due to the potential rising food costs.

Ensuring children are well-fed in schools with nutritious meals is so important and there has been vast progress made in this area over recent years. The thought that the standards may need to be discarded due to food pricing is sad and misguided – pricing is always an area that has solutions. It’s about being open minded and working flexibly to find alternatives.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that 28% of our food comes from the EU – so under a third. Over half comes from the UK itself and the rest is imported from other countries. It’s easy for us all to feel nervous by what Brexit may, or may not, bring but it’s equally important to keep our feet firmly on the ground and stay focused on what we can do ourselves to keep catering provision within schools on track.

For example, we’d advise schools to engage with their food suppliers and understand exactly which of their product lines are from the EU and may be facing a price rise and possible issues around stock levels. Of those products, if the price is likely to become untenable, schools could look at re-engineering the menu to keep the nutritional quality there. Alternative products could be substituted into dishes, or indeed entire dishes could be removed from menus, and replaced with ones which tick the ‘nutritional’ and the ‘price’ boxes.

We’ve worked with hundreds of schools over the past 20 years, and with many our focus has been on helping refine their catering provision. We can help schools mitigate increases to their food and catering costs regardless of if there is a deal or no deal exit. It’s not something to shy away from; rather we’d encourage all schools to fully get to grips with their supply chain and be in the driving seat for when Brexit does arrive.

If you’d like to reach out to us for an informal chat on how we can help you contact me –

Brian Wheatley, Partner Procurement Solutions