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School caterer cuts three tonnes of sugar from meals

Published: Wednesday, 11th September 2019

Birmingham schools caterer Cityserve has cut a whopping three tonnes of sugar from school meals as part of a campaign to cut the amount stocked by its schools.

Cityserve, which provides more than 60,000 school meals every single day at schools across Birmingham, has removed 3,125kg of sugar from the school meals it serves - the equivalent of 750,000 teaspoons - as part of a plan to reduce the amount of sugar stocked by its schools.

The huge reduction has been achieved by the multi award-winning caterer through a range of steps, including developing new lower-sugar recipes, limiting the use of condiments like tomato ketchup and salad cream and using fruit and vegetables as a replacement for some products.

Cityserve Head of Service Brian Cape said:
“We’re overjoyed to have managed to remove such a large amount of sugar from the meals we serve to children. We’ve managed to do this without compromising on flavour or quality, but by carefully tweaking the way we do things to cut out any unnecessary sugar.

“We’ve always been ambitious with our sugar reduction targets and we’re pleased with our progress. This is an ongoing challenge and we’re going to continue to do whatever we can to make sure we’re feeding children across the West Midlands with the healthiest, tastiest meals possible.”

Cityserve already provides children with low-sugar meals in line with the 2013 School Food Plan, which set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food.

But following a review of school stock reports in 2018, the organisation launched its sugar reduction campaign to reduce the amount stocked by its schools.

Steps included:-

  • Limiting the use of sugars and honey within CityKitchen recipes and using reduced sugar products such as cake mixes, baked beans and desserts
  • Using no-added sugar products instead of existing products
  • Limiting the use of condiments such as tomato ketchup and salad cream
  • Limiting fruit juices and flavoured milk
  • Using fruit and vegetables as a direct replacement for some products
  • Using low sugar fruit yoghurts instead of full fat equivalents
  • Developing new recipes that use less sugar in line with Cityserve’s aims

The latest milestone in Cityserve’s sugar reduction campaign coincides with Sugar Smart’s September Challenge - a UK-wide effort to encourage families, schools, workplaces and other organisations to reduce sugar.

The initiative aims to tackle a sugar crisis that has seen one in four children enter primary school obese or overweight and one in three enter secondary school obese or overweight. Statistics also show that tooth extraction is the largest cause of admission to hospital for five to nine-year-olds.

Brian added:
“As the organisation that feeds so many children in Birmingham, we’re in a privileged position to be helping to lay the foundations for their future. Ignoring the risks that come with consuming too much sugar isn’t an option and we see it as our duty to do our bit to help reduce the amount of unnecessary sugar consumed by children and in turn endeavour to help reduce obesity, diabetes and other health issues in the next generation.

“As well as steps we take in-house to reduce the amount of sugar stocked by schools, we have an ongoing programme of engagement with children, teachers and parents to ensure this goes beyond the meals children eat at school and makes its way into the home.”