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Blackpool’s school catering service wins national award for sustainable menus

Written by on 04/01/2024

Blackpool’s schools catering service has won a national award for serving some of the most sustainable plant-based school meals in the north west.

The catering service is leading the way as one of two councils in the region to win an award as part of the ProVeg non-profit organisation’s School Plates Awards, which recognise healthy and climate-friendly school menus across the UK.

Blackpool is one of only nine councils nationally to win this award.

To be eligible for an award, caterers must take various steps to promote plant-based school meals, which produce significantly less carbon than meat-based dishes. The dishes must also be nutritionally-balanced and be tasty, encouraging children to try and opt for more sustainable choices at lunchtime.

Schools in Blackpool are serving a range of plant-based dishes, including: Sweet potato and chickpea curry with wholegrain rice and naan bread, sweet and sour vegetable noodles with wholemeal bread, plant power fajita wrap with savoury vegetable rice and a diddy plant meatball sub roll with baked jacket potato wedges.

This award recognises one of the many areas that Blackpool Council’s catering team, alongside the council’s climate team is working hard in to achieve net zero carbon emissions and a healthier place to live following the council’s climate emergency declaration in 2019.

Cllr Jane Hugo, Blackpool Council Cabinet member for Climate Change said: “I’m delighted to see that our catering service is being recognised for its work in not only providing healthy meals for our children, but also finding ways to introduce plant-based options in an exciting and appetising way to encourage children to experiment with new flavours and options in their diet.

“The fact that we’re able to still provide delicious meals whilst reducing our food emissions is fantastic, and it’s important that we recognise this award and the impact our service is making towards the council’s sustainability goals and strategy. It has only been made possible by a huge team effort and the award is highly deserved by all involved.”

Cllr Jo Farrell, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Levelling Up – People with responsibilities for catering services said: “Our catering service is growing from strength to

strength, and this award is another example of how the team work tirelessly to improve the service.

“This award can continue to open up conversations around the importance of making healthier food choices and also educating children, and ourselves about the impact our food can have on the environment as well as our mental and physical health.

“I’m excited to see how the service can continue to develop ways to excite children about the food they eat and encourage discussions in the classroom and at home about the impact of the food they eat can make.”

Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK, the non-profit organisation behind the awards was full of praise for the council’s menus. He commented: “Being one of two councils in the north west to win an award, and one of just nine to receive a ProVeg School Plates Award nationally, Blackpool Council is a leader in sustainable catering and healthy school dinners. Their Bronze Award is a testament to their innovation and commitment. All credit to their impressive catering team.”