School meals 'labour of love' says Bay supplier

Picture of two people delivering school meals

Hitting back: the Fresha team - Credit: Fresha

A school meals provider has hit back at the incidents of parents receiving limited and poor quality food parcels.

Paul Banks, director of Fresha which supplies food to schools across Torbay, said the public outcry at the substandard contents and value of many food parcels is understandable.

But he explained it is not representative of the parcels being delivered by the likes of Fresha.

He said: “Even prior to the pandemic, educational catering didn’t make financial sense for us; we could make greater profit by selling a similar lunch in our cafe.

“Our school catering division has always been a labour of love, a desire to do good and celebrate the difference we make to children

“We actually make a financial loss on our school lunch parcels, yet we sacrifice profit margin to stay true to our brand values.

“That is one of the ways by which we differ to others and the schools that take the time to know us see that.”

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Food parcels such as Fresha’s not only provide superior levels of nutrition (surpassing Government and DFE guidelines), they also provide important allergen data and dietary options.

He said: “We’ve spent years working hard to become the experts in school meal provision.

“To see others who have no experience of school catering slapping poorly made meals into bags worries me greatly.

“It’s a concern for the children and it’s unfair on my team and business reputation.

“The passion, and frustration, is clear, characteristics shared by many local business owners fighting to have their reality better understood during the pandemic.

“Even if a supermarket is able to offer the same level of nutrition at the same price, there’s a lot to be argued for investing into community-focused businesses, especially when it’s bolstered by their specialist knowledge, morals and long-term commitment.”

“Our story at Fresha, and those of businesses like us, deserves to be heard. This is now of extreme importance, not for promotional reasons but so that we can fast-track the best nutrition into the children that need it most.”