ProVeg UK announces first Gold awards in School Plates Awards scheme
June 13, 2023
Schools in England receive national recognition for plant-powered menus by securing Gold in the ProVeg School Plates Awards
School caterers in London and West Sussex have won prestigious awards for their healthy and sustainable menus. The caterers are the very first in the country to secure Gold in The ProVeg School Plates Awards – a national accreditation scheme recognising nutritious and climate-friendly menus.
The award-winning schools menus have been created by Plant Based School Kitchens, who provide an entirely plant-based menu for one private school, and Waltham Forest Catering, who offer a range of delicious meat-free and plant-based dishes across its 43 state schools in compliance with the School Food Standards.
To obtain a Gold Award, caterers must fulfil ProVeg UK’s relevant criteria around nudging positive behaviours, meat reduction, and plant-based promotion. This includes having two fully meat-free days per week, offering a plant-based meal every day to all children, and encouraging more children to choose plant-based options through changes to the menu’s language and layout.
Waltham Forest Catering has also introduced “Save The Planet Days”. These are new meat-free days designed to help children make the connection between the food they eat and its impact on the planet. The dishes are even taste-tested by children to ensure they’re a success.
“We’re absolutely delighted to recognise these true pioneers in school food. We really didn’t expect to be awarding our first Golds this year given how high we’d set the bar, but these two caterers have delivered on their conviction to increase the quantity and quality of plant-based school food to improve the children’s health and protect their future. In the midst of a global climate crisis, it’s time to celebrate these genuine climate leaders.”
Jimmy Pierson, Director of ProVeg UK
“This ProVeg UK award is a very timely honour for all at Waltham Forest Catering. We are absolutely delighted that our commitment to plant based, and nutritious mid-day meals has been recognised.
“It comes just a few weeks before the Mayor of London introduces Free School Meals in our primary schools.
“The fact is that these meals are not only healthy and environmentally sustainable – they are delicious and popular too.
“It is a testament to all who have helped make it happen that doing the right thing doesn’t have to be boring. Well done to everyone who has worked on this.”
Cllr Alistair Strathern, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People
“We launched our catering service to ensure children are not only eating delicious, healthy food, but to help schools reduce their food emissions through low-carbon, plant-based menus. We are thrilled to win this award for our commitment to nutrition and sustainability.”
Gary Hardley, Co-founder at Plant Based School Kitchens
The ProVeg School Plates Awards launched earlier this year to set the standards for low-carbon menus across UK schools. The Awards are designed to recognise the positive steps taken by caterers to create healthier, climate-friendly menus.
ProVeg UK is currently working with 40 major catering partners, mostly local authorities, across the UK through its School Plates programme. Since the programme launched in 2018, the non-profit has helped turn over 9.2 million school dinners meat-free or plant-based while developing tasty, nutritious, and sustainable menus.
Any UK school caterer can participate in The ProVeg School Plates Awards for free. To learn more, visit ProVeg UK’s website, or if you are a school caterer and would like to submit your menu for review, send it to [email protected].