Primary increases cost of school meals citing ‘post Brexit’ inflation

Primary increases cost of school meals citing 'post Brexit' inflation

A primary has upped the price of its school meals, telling parents it follows an inflation of wholesale costs on food “post Brexit”.

Avanti Court Primary School, in north east London, sent a letter to parents outlining the price increase, which means parents will have to pay roughly £20 extra per year.

The letter, seen by Schools Week, states: “Commercial food and sundry product price inflation has already started to rise post “Brexit”, and imported wholesale food costs for products such as rice, dahls and spices have risen sharply by an overall 18 per cent, largely due to the depressed currency exchange rate.”

It added that domestically produced food costs have also risen, “as suppliers pass their increased costs on”.

But the mention of Brexit in the letter to parents is likely to prove contentious. It follows a highly-publicised row between food supplier Unilever and supermarket Tesco over products such as Marmite.

Unilever wanted to raise prices across a range of goods by 10 per cent, blaming the falling value of the pound. Tesco was reported to have fought the increases before the companies settled the dispute.

Schools Week understands the mention of Brexit in the letter to parents was a mistake by the school.

A spokesperson for Avanti Schools Trust, which runs the school, said: “Our schools have not increased meal prices since 2012 in an attempt to keep the cost to families as low as possible.

“Our catering providers have had to review this now and have also recently seen some ingredient prices rise from their wholesale suppliers, some by as much as 10-20%.

“Their suppliers attribute some of this rise to currency fluctuation, amongst other reasons. We will be making a small increase to our prices to ensure continuing quality of service.”

A concerned school parent, who did not want to be named, said: “I support the school in what it is doing and the increase is nominal at an additional 10p per day.”

But they added the “early impact of inflationary pressures to a school is more concerning”, adding:  “It also raises the questions about how the government measures the very real impact of these increases on normal working class people.”

Meals will be upped by 10p per child per day. Primary meals now will be £2.10 and secondary meals £2.45, from October half term.

School meals are 100 per cent vegetarian and include both western and Asian dishes, the school website said.

Children can bring in water and fruit, but the school does not allow packed lunches in order to “reduce the risk of sharing food, which may be against an individuals’ dietary requirements”.