Covid-19 acted as a salient reminder that schools are not merely places where children go to learn. Rather, they also provide children with a space to socialise and a reliable source of food (for some) every day. Peas Please is a partnership project working across all four UK nations to get everyone eating more veg. School children are a particular focus for us given the concerningly low levels of vegetable consumption in this age group, with school food providing a real opportunity to support improved nutrition and veg intake among kids.
This report takes a candid look at the UK’s school food system, picking out examples of good practice from across the four nations, identifying opportunities for positive change, and making recommendations for policy and decision makers. The report is accompanied by four State of the Nation subreports which provide more detail about school food provision in each of the individual nations.
"My school, all the healthy food is far more expensive and even things like pasta is way more than what you’d get for, like, a sausage and egg bap."
Student, Secondary School
All school food standards should recommend at least two portions of veg in every meal
Implement Universal Free School Meals across the UK at the earliest opportunity, expanding Free School Meal eligibility to all children living in poverty as a first step
Nations to undertake school food reviews and invest in opportunities to improve and implement school food standards in and out of term time
“Eighty percent of processed food sold in the UK is unhealthy. There is a sound commercial reason for this: less healthy food is more popular. The human appetite evolved … to pounce on any food that is high n fat and sugar.” National Food Strategy for England, July 2021