State of the Nation - our findings

Our State of the Nation 2019 report has landed, exposing the reality of what children are eating in England.

The report outlines the results from our 18-month investigation into school meals which brings together the views of head teachers, school meal providers and caterers.

Our investigation found that at least 60% of secondary schools are failing to comply with the School Food Standards in order to make cost savings. All caterers we spoke to said cost pressures are affecting food quality in UK schools. School meals are in jeopardy, and action must be taken now.

The caterers we work with at Food for Life do a fantastic job, as they lead the way in ensuring, tasty, healthy and sustainable meals are the norm for all to enjoy. And having the Food for Life Served Here award means caterers are checked for compliance with the School Food Standards.

Want to certify as Food For Life Served Here? Enrol today.

However, with huge uncertainties and pressures surrounding Brexit, and the world waking up to the climate crisis, now is a crucial time to remind our new government of what is at stake, and what more needs to be done.

Catering SOTN

Armed with the findings from our investigation, our report sets out 5 recommendations for government action and investment:

Our recommendations

  • Introduce a ‘plant protein day’ in schools
  • Set an ambitious target for organic in public procurement, including in schools
  • Ensure compliance with School Food Standards
  • Most importantly, ensure adequate funding to enable the above
  • Extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to artificial sweeteners

Read our in-depth State of the Nation report here.

If you’d like to know more about Food for Life Served Here, our award for caterers, please contact our team:

London – Clare Clarke –

Midlands – David Persaud -

North – Caron Longden -

South West – Hannah Caswell -

Scotland - Sarah Duley -

Our thanks to English Tea Shop, who are pleased to sponsor the publication of this report.

English Tea Shop

SOTN 2019 report download

"We urge all concerned parents to ask whether their school has the Food for Life badge, as this is the only independent verification of school meal standards and ingredient quality."Rob Percival (Head of Food Policy, Soil Association)

Food for Life Catering Mark