Vertas Group Limited, and its educational brands ‘eats’ and ‘Vive’, freshly prepares approximately 40,000 meals daily for school children and college students across East Anglia. The group’s commercial catering arm ‘Churchill Catering’ runs operations at around 50 UK sites, including Forestry England sites.
Since 2016 Vertas has been liaising closely with our supply chain to ensure both our main and local suppliers of produce have robust contingencies in place in the event that no deal is agreed with the EU and we have been assured that every possible step has been taken to mitigate any impact of a disorderly Brexit.
The Vertas Group has also put in place robust plans to increase orders of products with a longer shelf life (eg dried goods, tinned produce, cheese) and store them locally, in both kitchen storage areas and at various Vertas hubs.
Menus are being planned around the ‘in season’ UK products as much as possible to mitigate any supply shortages and it’s reassuring that the general supply of UK grown root vegetables going into the autumn is much better placed than at this time last year and therefore supplies should be plentiful over the coming winter months.
Concerns have been raised in the national press this week regarding the threat of legal school meal nutrition standards needing to be discarded in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
We have been monitoring advice from the Department of Education and are pleased to see they will be offering us leeway and flexibility in the short term:
“Schools have significant flexibilities within the school food standards, which they can refer to if certain items are in short supply.” Department for Education.
As part of our commitment to lowering food miles, much of our produce comes from local suppliers which helps us significantly mitigate the risk of food shortages. Should certain items be unavailable or in short supply our Food Development Chef and his team will roll out a temporary menu. The choice of ingredients might be restricted but normal service will continue. If this occurs, we will communicate with all affected clients and monitor and communicate the situation on a continual basis.