Over half of all primary schools in England are serving food that is ethical, sustainable, free from controversial additives and meets School Food Standards – thanks to the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark.

The Food for Life Catering Mark provides an independent endorsement that caterers are taking steps to improve the food they serve, using more fresh, sustainable ingredients which are free from harmful additives and better for animal welfare.

The Catering Mark now serves over 1.6 million meals to schools, nurseries, hospitals, universities, workplaces and other venues. Schools make up around 90% of this figure.

Rich Watts, senior Catering Mark manager, said: “The Catering Mark recognises the importance of freshly prepared, ethical and sustainable school food and provides a framework for caterers to achieving it. We’re really excited that over 8,500 primary schools across England have the Catering Mark Award – it’s a huge step towards creating a healthier food environment for our children. The next challenge is to get Catering Mark food into every school.”

The Food for Life Catering Mark provides a springboard for many schools to go on to achieve a wider Food for Life Schools Award, which looks not only at the quality of food served, but also dining experience and food education for pupils, parents and the wider community. Schools can work towards the gold, silver and bronze Catering Mark. They are rewarded for every percentage of their ingredient spend on ethical, environmentally friendly food and locally sourced ingredients. To find out more, go to www.sacert.org/catering