1359 stakeholders took the time to respond to this consultation which demonstrates the importance that a wide variety of stakeholders place on school food and drink provision.
With 84%, 84%, 53% and 71% respectively being broadly in favour of the four main themed proposals set out in this consultation, there appears to be broad public consensus for making these changes to the school food and drink Regulations. This will help to ensure that the food and drink served in schools continues to play a central part in ensuring our children can make balanced choices which will support their health and wellbeing both now and in the future.
Four specific elements (provision of fruit juice, flavoured milk, no added sugar soft drinks and provision of red and red processed meat) within two of the themes each received attention from more than 80 respondents and as such have been addressed in more detail within the relevant themes along with contrasting information where available. Comments on these specific elements may have been made in any one of the five questions but for the purposes of this report, have been addressed under the most appropriate theme. Namely provision of fruit juice, flavoured milk and no added sugar soft drinks within theme two and provision of red and red processed meat within theme three.
The consultation invited comment on the content of the school food and drink Regulations and as such only those comments relating to content will be used to inform decision about what changes will be made to the Regulations. For example the frequency that sweetened and baked goods should be provided in schools and whether fruit juice should be removed from the schools permitted drinks lists.
Where comments have been offered on the implementation of the school food and drink Regulations rather than the content, they will not be taken into account when considering what changes will be made to the Regulations for example suggestions of how to encourage pupils to choose more fruit and vegetables that are on offer. However we recognise the value these comments and suggestions have in relation to implementation of any changes and as such they will be considered when updating the guidance document which will support caterers and schools as they implement the updated school food and drink Regulations. We will take the same approach for comments which relate to action already allowed under the current Regulations but highlight a potential need for more action locally for example provision of vegetarian and vegan options and, increased local sourcing.
Where comments did not relate to either the content or implementation but rather to the more general supporting elements of school food provision and also to food education, they will be retained and considered by policy colleagues with the remit to develop future policy in these areas for example changes to home economics classes or creation of ‘grow your own’ projects at school.