Kids are the country’s future – let’s feed them like it!

Culinary stars and food campaigners – from Tom Kerridge to Prue Leith – are signing up to the school food revolution by backing a campaign to highlight the importance of quality school meals, which kicks off today (Wed Sept 29).

The stellar list of chefs, food producers and campaigners, including Henry Dimbleby, Chantelle Nicholson, Amelia Freer, Thomasina Miers and Biteback 2030 ambassador Christina Adane, are asking people ‘To Give A Sausage’ about school food.

The campaign – from the school food charity, Chefs in Schools – was designed pro-bono by Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), one of the world’s most famous creative agencies.

It encourages schools to sign up to a School Food Charter – which is a commitment to serving freshly made, high-quality school meals.

Chefs and people with a passion for food are being urged to consider a career in school food.

While the Government is being asked to adopt key recommendations referenced in the National Food Strategy, including:

  1.   Putting quality first
  2.   Investing in the workforce
  3.   Ensuring no child goes hungry

Tom Kerridge, who co-founded Full Time Meals with the England footballer Marcus Rashford, is backing the campaign to raise awareness of the role school food can play in tackling child food poverty.

There is a growing body of evidence that good school lunches are associated with better child health, behaviour and attainment. 

  • Pupils in both primary and secondary schools are more “on-task” in the classroom as a result of improvements to school lunch quality and the dining environment. (1)
  • Research also shows, children eating school lunches exhibit lower levels of sedentary behaviour (2) – showing it’s vital to serve a good standard of school food across the country. 
  • Children attending schools where school food standards are more rigorously adhered to have lower rates of obesity (3).
  • But at least 60% of secondary schools fail to meet the legal School Food Standards (4)
  • 1 in 3 children leave school overweight or obese.
  • Around 1.5m (5) hungry children living in very food insecure households miss out on free school meals.

The pandemic put school food in the spotlight when parents shared images of the food their children were being sent to eat at home.

This campaign wants to see people talking about the importance of good food being served in schools, and challenging for action to make sure every child can access a quality school meal. 

With awareness of the importance of school food growing, organisations have been getting behind the campaign offering support free of charge – including BBH, and media companies like – JACK and City Outdoor Media.

If you give a sausage about school food, share the video or download the School Food Charter now. 

“This is a cause close to my heart.  It’s heartbreaking to think that 4.2 million children in the UK are living in poverty, no child should go to bed hungry but far too many do. Serving good food in schools is vital if we want children to learn and reach their potential.” 

Tom Kerridge, Co-founder of Full Time Meals with the England footballer Marcus Rashford.

“I support this campaign with all my heart. Schools can offer a fantastic opportunity to teach children to cook and eat good food that will set them up for life.”

Prue Leith, restaurateur, chef, broadcaster and writer.

“We have an obesity crisis in this country, although you can’t fix everything with school food, you have such a vital time to intervene in how children interact with food so if you can teach them through the food they eat in the dining hall, you have an opportunity to shape their eating habits for life.

In many school kitchens, there are staff interested in food who want to cook it – we’re saying to schools – sign up to the charter and give your kitchen teams the training and freedom to make great school food from scratch that will fuel the future well.”

Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Chefs in Schools and author of the National Food Strategy.

Notes to editors:
For interview requests, contact: Kath Kay – kathkay-at-indigoeight.com The School Food Charter is available to download here. The campaign is being backed by: Tom Kerridge, Henry Dimbleby, Prue Leith, Amelia Freer, Chantelle Nicholson, Biteback 2030, Biteback Ambassador Christina Adane – Tastily and Belazu. Do You Give A Sausage calls on Government to adopt the following three asks referenced from the National Food Strategy:
  1.   Put quality first
Set minimum quality standards for health and sustainability in school food, and ensure compliance with the school food standards through a mandatory certification scheme
  1. Invest in the workforce
Invest in training the school kitchen workforce in child nutrition and the school food standards, making this a mandatory requirement.
  1. Make sure no child misses out
Extend eligibility for free school meals to every child who needs them. As a starting point, increasing the earnings threshold for free school meal entitlement to £20,000 up from £7,400. Ensure hungry children don’t miss out because of immigration status by making the temporary extension to those with NRPF status permanent Sources: (1)Golley R, Baines E, Bassett P, Wood L, Pearce J, Nelson M. School lunch and learning behaviour in primary schools: an intervention study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Nov;64(11):1280-8 (2) Storey HC, Pearce J, Ashfield-Watt PA, Wood L, Baines E, Nelson M. A randomized controlled trial of the effect of school food and dining room modifications on classroom behaviour in secondary school children. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jan;65(1):32-8. Dubuisson C, Lioret S, Dufour A, Volatier JL, Lafay L, Turck D. Associations between usual school lunch attendance and eating habits and sedentary behaviour in French children and adolescents. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2012 Dec;66(12):1335-41. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2012.137. Epub 2012 Oct 10. PMID: 23047714. (3)Hennessy E, Oh A, Agurs-Collins T, Chriqui JF, Mâsse LC, Moser RP, Perna F. State-level school competitive food and beverage laws are associated with children’s weight status. J Sch Health. 2014 Sep;84(9):609-16. doi: 10.1111/josh.12181. PMID: 25117896; PMCID: PMC4176686. Sanjeevi N, Lipsky LM, Nansel TR, Haynie D, Liu A, Simons-Morton B. Stronger State School Nutrition Laws Are Associated With Healthier Eating Behaviors and Optimal Weight Status in US Adolescents. Am J Health Promot. 2020 Nov;34(8):857-866. doi: 10.1177/0890117120902346. Epub 2020 Feb 10. PMID: 32036683. (4) Food For Life State of the Nation report 2019 (food insecure households don’t get free school meals, while it’s estimated nearly half a million (400,000) children are not entitled to a free school meal due to immigration status, despite often being overrepresented in low earning households. Entitlement has been temporarily extended to children without recourse to public funds, Chefs in Schools are calling on the government to make this permanent. About BBH: Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) is one of the world’s most famous creative agencies. Founded in London in 1982, we now also have offices in New York, Los Angeles, Stockholm, Mumbai, Singapore and Shanghai. Our logo, the black sheep, represents the power of difference – because when the world zigs, we zag. This BBH thinking, combined with our care, craft and magic, has secured BBH clients including Audi, Barclays, Google, Marvel, Nike, Tesco and Samsung. About Chefs in Schools
  • Chefs in Schools was established in June 2018 with the aim of transforming food, food culture and food education in schools through training, guidance and support. 
  • We work predominantly in areas with high levels of socio-economic deprivation and aim to reduce child obesity and malnutrition.
  • Chefs in Schools is proving it’s possible to make exciting, creative school meals for as little as 75p in primary schools and 90p in secondary schools.
  • We have worked with 42 schools to date, reaching 16,000 pupils
  • We have another 11 schools in training currently, reaching another 4,000 pupils in London, Bournemouth and Sheffield
  • Our target is to transform food and food education in 100 schools by 2023, and to inspire and enable thousands more to make meaningful improvements. 
  • Chefs in Schools is a campaigning charity – lobbying to extend free school meals and for nationwide improvement of school meal standards.
  • Money raised for our charity supports our work transforming school food, funds cookery lessons in schools and supports the Hackney School of Food – our collaboration with the LEAP foundation. 
  • The Hackney School of Food is a field to fork cooking school, which trains school chefs and offers food education to children and communities in Hackney.
  • Chefs in Schools was co-founded by Henry Dimbleby, co-author of the School Food Plan, author of the National Food Strategy and co-founder of Leon Restaurants, Nicole Pisani, former Head Chef at Nopi, and Louise Nichols, Executive Head Teacher of the Leap Federation of Schools. 
  • Our charity is backed by some of the country’s leading food influencers, including Prue Leith, Thomasina Miers and Yotam Ottolenghi.