White Compass Logo

Chartwells achieves 20% sugar reduction across its primary school contracts a year ahead of schedule


Chartwells, the leading specialist provider of catering to the education sector, has already achieved the target to reduce sugar from its menus by 20% as outlined by Public Health England (PHE), a year ahead of their 2020 deadline.

The PHE’s Sugar Reduction Progress Report 2018 requires school caterers to reduce the level of sugar by 20% in categories that contribute most to a child’s intake, for children aged up to 18. This is part of the wider Government programme ‘Childhood obesity: A plan for Action’, issued in August 2016.

Chartwells has successfully achieved this target across each of its 1,700 primary schools through the introduction of new meal options as well as a re-formulation and re-engineering of school dessert menus.

The in-house nutrition and food development teams nutritionally analysed recipe and ingredients data and went on to review every dish on the menu, reducing sugar wherever possible without impacting on taste. This work has been actively championed not only by the Chartwells teams, but by their clients and local authorities who have positively supported the implementation of the new menus which have been gradually rolled out during 2018 and 2019.

New Developments for SS19 Menu

Carrot & Apple Slice FB
Banana Oat Bars FB
Chocolate Shortbread
Pear Upside Down Cake FB
Vanilla Rice Pudding SD

FB - Fruit based- dessert contains 50% fruit content to meet school food standards.
SD - Special diets- none of the 14EU allergens used.
All the new developments meet or exceed PHE 20% sugar reduction targets.

Research from our ‘We’re All Ears’ survey shows that variety is of great importance to parents, with parents wanting to see their child enjoying a range of different foods at school – this is born out of 43% of kids aged 7-15 saying they got bored of meals they have at home. The top five key factors for parents choosing food for children are: something they will like (69%), contributes to 1 of their 5 a day (50%), low sugar (46%) source of vitamin and minerals (31%) and no artificial ingredients (31%).

Chartwells has also made great strides in reducing 20% of sugar in desserts served across its secondary school portfolio – achieving this in 88% of desserts on the menu to date, with the aim of reaching 100% by the end of 2019.

This sugar reduction work is an ongoing priority and going forward, every new menu cycle will ensure sugar levels are stabilised. Additionally, the chefs and nutrition team are continuing to work on identifying where sugar can be reduced further within recipes.

Richard Taylor, Managing Director, Chartwells commented: “We take our responsibility as a food provider to children extremely seriously. Childhood obesity is on the increase, therefore reducing sugars in our lunchtime menus is a positive step to making a difference. Education about healthy eating is important too, which is why we launched Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen, which helps young people, teachers and communities tackle issues like childhood obesity, mental health and lack of exercise.”

Meg Longworth, Head of Nutrition, Chartwells added “It’s amazing to see such brilliant results from the Chartwells team and well ahead of the PHE’s 2020 deadline. This is testament to the ambitious commitment that Chartwells have made with local authority public health teams to deliver nutrition and food education in schools every day and our commitment to local campaigns and initiatives such as Sugar Smart and holiday provision programmes.”

Carrot and Apple Slice
Chartwells lunchtime service