Vertas invests in Norfolk school catering

Submitted by Amelia O'Hanlon | 20/04/2017

Vertas has bolstered its presence in Norfolk by saving schools money and pledging to shake up catering for good, with improvements to food quality, standards and service.

The fast-growing facilities management provider has entered partnerships with 12 schools in and around Norwich to improve the catering service, increase meal uptake, and save the school running costs as a result.

The school dining areas, serveries and kitchens will boast Vertas’ bright, fun and innovative ‘eats’ primary catering brand; coupled with a menu which has been carefully designed around balanced nutrition and outstanding taste.

It is the key business ethos within the Vertas Group to demonstrate sustainability by investing in the local economy, with this in mind, 72% of ingredients and produce are sourced locally to Norfolk, thus ensuring the pupils receive a truly local meal.

The schools which have launched the new service from the Spring term, are:

  • Acle Primary
  • Drayton Junior
  • Fairhaven Primary
  • Lakenham Primary
  • Little Melton Primary
  • Mile Cross Primary
  • Spixworth Infant
  • Spooner Row Primary
  • Sprowston Infant
  • Sprowston Junior
  • Thurton Primary
  • Woodland View Junior

Ian Surtees, Vertas Group Limited’s CEO, said:

“We are thrilled to be able to further grow our presence in Norfolk. Vertas has over the years worked tirelessly to perfect its school catering offer; ensuring we are ahead of the curve in food and service innovation.

“With my own children attending schools in the region I am fully aware of the challenges which face school leaders in providing a great quality service with an ever decreasing budget. We understand these pressures and regularly look at ways in which we can support.

“Through our investment into local supply partnerships and a keener focus on the customer, we have been able to develop an excellent food offer and save the client money which they can invest in other areas of the school business.”

Stuart Allen, Mile Cross Primary School’s Headteacher, said:

“We are excited to be working in partnership with Vertas as they share the same values as we do and are committed to creating fresh, healthy and innovative food to support the health and well-being of our children.

“We chose Vertas as they listened to the children and worked to meet the school’s needs; positively encouraging us to visit other schools they provide for. The difference in the quality of the food and the eating environment was immediate.”

Mile Collins, Woodland View Junior School’s Headteacher, said:

“We are looking forward to bringing the children some new, exciting and different food choices along with a healthy and a balanced nutritional diet. A brighter and more colourful dining area has been created which along with the food will create a pleasant lunchtime experience.”

Realising each school has their individual quirks, Vertas has collaborated with the schools to develop bespoke offers, ensuring flexibility when it comes to launching the right service for the school, its staff and pupils.

One way in which we’re offering this flexibility is by introducing a new way to do school meals, this is called ‘Pick & Mix’, Vertas’ award-nominated* service which has seen the increase in meal uptake by up to 50%. The offer allows pupils to choose from a range of hot and cold food items to create their own packed lunch. The meal consists of a main, such as a filled roll, wrap, baguette or pasta pot, a side, such as a cheese straw or pot of cheese and grapes, a fruit or vegetable pot and a dessert, such as flapjack or the all-time school favourite ‘Chocolate Crunch’.

This alternative runs alongside the classic ‘hot dinners’, complementing it by providing a variety of lunch options; therefore, reducing queues. Pick & Mix has not only been popular with pupils, even parents and teachers have praised the new service because of the autonomy it places on the pupil to make their own decisions about what they have for lunch.

The offer is based on a packed lunch but ensures a balanced & nutritious meal, removing chocolate bars and fizzy drinks that sometime appear in a packed lunch brought in from home. This maintains the pupil’s concentration for an afternoon of learning.

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