Our new analysis of primary school menus, that were available on the local authorities’ websites in summer 2019, shows that the menus have improved since 2017 when we first conducted this analysis.
Compared to 2017, in 2019 primary school menus:
Additionally, in councils that provided nutrition information they appear to have reduced sugar content in puddings. This is a great progress bringing school meals closer to the Scottish Dietary Goals and potentially improving children's health and wellbeing.
However, there is still room for improvement. While some local authorities did very well, greater consistency is required. More authorities could offer soup and oily fish. Pizza, chips and puddings could be served less frequently, and nutrition information could be made available in more areas (only 7 local authorities offered this information). The good examples included in the report demonstrate this is possible.
We are calling for continued improvements around the four recommendations we published in 2017:
Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland commented: “We are delighted to see local authorities taking steps to improve primary school menus in Scotland. School meals provide a unique opportunity to influence children's diets and their relationship with food. Our analysis shows that change is possible. Local authorities have taken these steps in advance of anticipated new school meals nutrition standards. School meals should continue to be valued to ensure all our children have a healthy, happy experience with food and the best start in life."