Planning Ahead for Increased Cost of School MealsA small increase in the price of a school meal has been agreed by Hampshire County Council, to come in to effect on 11 April 2016 – the first increase in six years.

To meet the rising costs of providing school meals, the 10p increase takes the cost per meal to £2.10. The price continues to represent good value for money for a two course, freshly cooked school meal.

Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Keith Mans said: “A healthy lunch at school contributes significantly to a child’s wellbeing and their capacity to learn through to the end of the school day. We’re very proud of the high standard of school meals that our catering service (HC3S) provides, using locally sourced produce.”

He continued: “I am keen that school meals remain affordable but we must balance this against the rising costs to provide those meals. In my view, the proposal to put the per meal price up by small increments will avoid sudden, dramatic price hikes and ensure the increases are manageable.”

Over 70,000 healthy school meals are served in Hampshire’s primary and secondary schools across the county. All HC3S school meals meet the Department for Education’s rules for healthy school dinners and HC3S has worked with schools, pupils and parents for over 20 years, to create menus that are varied and follow the guiding principles of healthy eating.

Menus also adhere to the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group’s recommendations to remove over 70 additives and colourings that could affect children’s behaviour.

In addition to the rising costs of ingredients, an increase to the ‘Living Wage’ is anticipated in the financial year 2017/18 which will have a significant impact on staffing costs.

The decision to increase the school meal price was taken at the Executive Lead Member for Children’s Services Decision Day (20 January 2016). The School Meals Decision Report can be read online at hants.gov.uk/councilmeetings.

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