allmanhall review the DfE’s sustainability and climate change policy

The nutrition and dietetics team at food procurement specialists for the education sector, allmanhall have been reviewing the Department for Education’s sustainability policy, published towards the end of April 2022. It looks at topics of health and climate, much like the National Food Strategy. To get to grips what this means when it comes to the food in our schools, here they provide an overview…

“We’ve eagerly anticipated this policy since we reviewed the draft late last year. At allmanhall we specialize in food procurement and the creation of sustainable supply chains for schools. This policy heavily features both food supply and the procurement of food, supported by the need for education surrounding the environmental impact of food. Incredibly relevant and incredibly necessary” says Jo Hall, Comms Director at allmanhall.

allmanhall’s dietitian goes on to say, “Some key areas which were originally included in the draft policy have, disappointingly, failed to make the final cut.”

The policy does look at ways to improve the education and the knowledge of young people when it comes to climate change. With more than 16 million currently in education systems in the UK, this aspect is critical for developing a greener sustainable future.

Is it enough?

The report certainly makes an important step forward, say the team at allmanhall, and contains many good initiatives which will hopefully serve to give some guidance and support to schools going forward.

However, when it comes to the food offerings in schools, there is a complete omission of the need to review food school standards. This is certainly disappointing especially as the draft policy last winter included a review of the school standards and sought to make suggestions around including more plant-based / meat free options.. Knowing the importance and impact on climate change of que we eat, allmanhall would have liked to have seen this included. It is a shame to see that this has been excluded from the final paper. The report references supporting schools to meet the food school standards. However, these standards currently have minimal reference to food sustainability. One of the requirements is actually dairy being on the menu daily and meat needing to be on the menu three times a week.

The fact that school food standards are being reviewed independently may be the reason why they were not included.

allmanhall recognizes that catering operations and food supply chains can have significant impact on the environment and are supporting schools to design environmentally sustainable menus without impacting on cost and taste, resulting in behavioral change and long term impacts. Often only small changes are needed which can lead to positive changes – food is a key part of schools’ journey to net zero. This is why allmanhall have partnered with the award-winning Foodsteps platform, to help schools carbon assess their menus. For information on this, or on our nutrition and dietetics support for your school menu, please contact the team at allmanhall.

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