Food-based Standards

The new food-based standards became mandatory for all maintained schools, new academies and free schools in England, and are designed to offer school caterers more flexibility when planning their menus. 

Applied across the school day, the standards promote nutritionally positive foods, such as:

  • wholegrains e.g. wholemeal pasta, brown bread, brown rice - we use turmeric to naturally colour our brown rice to create 'sunshine rice'
  • three different fruits and three different vegetables each week - our seasonal salad bar offers children unlimited access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every week
  • oily fish at least once every three weeks - our current menu features a salmon fish finger and salmon combined with tuna as a sandwich and jacket filling

The standards also restrict or limit foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt:

  • no confectionary, chocolate or chocolate-coated products (applies across the school day)
  • deserts, cakes and biscuits are allowed at lunchtime. they must not contain any confectionary
  • no more than two portions a week of food that has been deep-fried, batter-coated, or bread-crumb coated (applies across the school day)

Our nutrition team check every school menu that we serve to ensure compliance with the standards, and have designed their own checklist, which demonstrates how each criteria is met. Schools can use the checklist as evidence that the menus meet the food-based standards. To view a copy of the current checklist for the Summer Autumn menu, please click here.

For more information about the food-based standards, and how they apply across the school day, please visit the School Food Plan website at