A newly published discussion paper outlines the opportunities and recommendations for maximising the benefit of Universal Free School Meals.
The ALLIANCE have joined a range of organisations, including ASSIST Facilities Management, COSLA, Nourish Scotland, the STUC and Zero Waste Scotland in supporting a discussion paper on “The ‘Good Food’ Case for the provision of Universal Free School Meals (UFSM) in Scotland”.
This paper follows a commitment from the Scottish Government to introduce UFSM for primary school children by 2022, and outlines the key opportunities and recommendations for maximising the benefits of this policy. School meals provide a daily, nutritious meal for children, and help to deliver on multiple policy objectives including reducing poverty, improving health and wellbeing, and climate change mitigation. UFSM are therefore a vital social investment, not a cost.
Amongst the recommendations in the paper are:
- Prioritising local procurement of ethically and sustainably produced ingredients.
- Facilitating co-production of matters relating to the rollout of UFSM with children and their families.
- Developing a national recipe book of school meals that encourages the use of seasonal and regional produce.
- Adopting a clear and measurable standard for good school food by revising and mandating Better Eating, Better Learning.
- Developing school food service standards around dining room design and environment, supervision, and all aspects of children’s dining experience to complement nutritional requirements.
Commenting on the publication of the paper, Jayne Jones, Chair of ASSIST FM, said:
‘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’.’