A FOOD and drink project will serve up support for producers in Wales and review school dinner menus across the country.
Six local authorities in Wales have signed up to the Larder Cymru Welsh Food for Schools pilot scheme following a successful test trial in Conwy.
Over the next 12 months, Wrexham, Flintshire, Anglesey, Gwynedd, Cardiff, and Caerphilly councils have pledged to work with the initiative.
Supported by the Welsh Government’s Backing Local Firms Fund and delivered by Menter Mon, the aim is to increase the volume and range of Welsh produce purchased and used by education catering departments in their counties.
Senior Project Officer David Wylie says the journey to this point has been “proactive and collaborative” as they roll the scheme out to further local authorities.
“Larder Cymru and the six local authorities we are working with are committed to reviewing school menus and identifying opportunities for integrating more Welsh products into their meals,” said David.
“We will collaborate with existing supply chains and stakeholders to develop future school meal menus that incorporate more Welsh produce and suppliers in line with the policy for universal free school meals in Wales.
“Each local authority will be responsible for their own menu provision and supply framework; as part of the project we will explore and identify the opportunities and challenges to serving more Welsh produce in school meals.”
As well as focusing on Welsh produce, the project will also consider the sustainability, nutrition, allergen, and health requirements of school meal provision.
The six Welsh authorities taking part also represent variations in geography, urban-rural landscapes, demographics and method of school meal preparation and service.
Supporting Welsh food and drink producers to secure a greater share of supply into public sector food contracts also aligns with the Welsh Government Foundational Economy strategy.
Wrexham’s Lead Member for Education Cllr Phil Wynn said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Larder Cymru to see how we can improve the quality of the food we provide to children and young people in our schools.
“Providing the best meals possible will help contribute to them achieving their potential and if we can do this by including more Welsh produce this will also help the local economy and the environment.”