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School meals 'proving popular'

12/07/2011 Joanna
The number of children eating school meals is on the rise, new figures show.

According to the School Food Trust, 44.1 per cent of children in primary school and 37.6 per cent of secondary school pupils had school meals over the last year, up from 41.4 per cent and 35.8 per cent respectively in the 12 months previous.

More than three million youngsters now have a school meal every day.

School Food Trust chairman Rob Rees commented: "There's no better review for any restaurant than to see the number of returning customers going up each year – and that's exactly what's happening here, thanks to the hard work of cooks and catering teams, lunchtime supervisors, schools and councils."

He noted that if more children are to start eating school meals, it is important that they remain affordable.

"That means helping schools to grow their market, to get the best deals for their food supplies and services, to protect their kitchens and dining rooms and to operate their catering services efficiently. With more children registering for free school meals, we've also got to make sure that we continue to encourage more children to take them up," Mr Rees said.

He added that good school food is a solid investment in learning and the health of young people.
The average price of a school meal from 2010-11 was £1.98, representing a 5p increase on the previous year.

The Schools Trust earlier this year urged parents to ensure their children eat well during the exam season.

A survey carried out by the organisation in 2009 found that chocolate is the food of choice for 42 per cent of teenagers when they are revising.

Furthermore, it was revealed that 33 per cent consume fizzy drinks when studying for their exams.

Posted by Dolcie Thacker

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