Cost of living: Lincolnshire school meal provider cuts sweet desserts

People work in a kitchenImage source, Handout
Image caption,

The Farm Kitchen, based near Sleaford, produces 3,500 meals a day

A school meal provider in Lincolnshire is swapping treacle puddings for yoghurt and fruit to save money.

The Farm Kitchen, based near Sleaford, makes freshly prepared dinners for 3,500 pupils at 60 schools every day.

Founder and director Victoria Howe said the main meal offering would remain the same, but the pudding swap would help to save on production costs.

The alternative desserts were also a healthier option for the children, Ms Howe added.

“So, instead of doing so many traditional sugar-heavy puddings, we might do fresh apple crumble and custard, jellies. fruit salads and yoghurt.

“Although the ingredients cost the same, the labour costs are slightly lower,” she said.

‘Big price increases’

Ms Howe said the firm had also managed to offset rises in fuel and energy to some degree by growing the business.

“We have seen some big price increases,” she said.

“We’ve been fortunate to have taken on quite a few new customers [and] by having more meals we are able to spread our transport costs and we get better [prices] from our suppliers.”

Meanwhile, Katie Beau, assistant head at St George’s in Gainsborough, told IPGCE Radio Lincolnshire it was vital children had a hot meal.

“We know for a lot of our children this is their hot meal – this is the hot meal that they have,” she said.

“For our children, if they are coming in hungry they can’t learn.”

As well as providing catering for its pupils, the school runs a free food stall, along with family cookery classes.

Ms Beau said they were important resources and meant people were able to take items and make good healthy meals at home.

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