Fresh meat off the menu at some schools due to cost-of-living increases

Fresh meat off the menu at some schools due to cost-of-living increases

The UK’s school food caterers’ association, Laca, has warned that fresh meat, including beef, has now been removed from a number of school menus due to the rising cost of ingredients.

Laca members currently provide 80% of the school catering service in England and Wales.

A survey of 170 school caterers represented by Laca found that the vast majority are experiencing food shortages. In addition, the average school now faces a 20% rise in food costs compared with figures from April 2020.

According to Laca, just under a third of caterers said they were experiencing shortages of fresh meat, while the same proportion are considering using more processed food to replace fresh produce.

More than 60 of respondents said that they had either switched from British meat to meat from abroad, or were considering doing so soon.

The cost of minced beef, commonly used by school caterers to make burgers or lasagne, rose by 11% overnight, the association reported.

Laca’s survey also found that groceries such as pasta, oil, frozen vegetables and fish were among the worst affected by rising prices, with caterers reporting cost increases of between 20 to 30% for many of these products.

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