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Why School Caterers Should Consider Own Brand Food Products

The cost of living crisis puts a lot of pressure on schools’ ability to provide quality meals. The increasing energy costs, food costs, supply, and the already tight budgets mean that schools struggle to offer children quality meals. This is compounded by increasing demand as more families rely on free school meals.

LACA, the School Food People, published a survey with 168 respondents covering 2,632 schools and 722,000 pupils daily. The key highlights from the survey are:

  • 90% of survey respondents reported they were experiencing food shortages and substitutions from their supply chain
  • Chicken, bread, and oil were the items mentioned most frequently as being the most affected by shortages
  • 54% of respondents have seen an increase in the numbers of pupils opting for benefit-based free school meals since the start of the pandemic
  • 40% of caterers are concerned they will no longer be able to meet the school food standards in the new academic year, and 55% said that if things do not improve, school food quality will deteriorate
  • If cost and supply chain issues do not begin to improve, 55% of respondents expect a decline in school food quality.

You can read the full report here.


One way to ease the pressure on school budgets is to switch to own-brand food products. Own brand products are often cheaper than big name brands without compromising taste and quality. Many own brand products are manufactured in the same factories as the more expensive branded alternatives.

Switching to own brand food products can help schools save money on their food budget, which can be reinvested in other areas of the school or used to provide more meals for children. It is a simple change that can make a big difference in providing quality school meals.


In recent years, there has been a shift in consumer habits regarding groceries. More and more people are opting for own-brand products over familiar name brands. According to environmental organisation Hubbub, one in four Brits now chooses own-brand products more often when shopping. This trend is borne out by the latest figures from Kantar, which show that sales of own-label items have risen 2.9% over the last 12 weeks while sales of branded products have fallen by 1%.

However, this is not the complete story. The value own-label lines of supermarkets such as Co-op Honest Value, Sainsbury’s Imperfectly Tasty, and Asda’s newly-launched Just Essentials range surged 12%. Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said staples such as pasta, bread and beans, which have seen the most significant price increases, have experienced the most considerable shift to own brand.

There are several reasons why this shift is taking place. For many people, the cost is a significant factor. Own-brand products are often cheaper than their branded counterparts, which makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers.


As a caterer, you know that finding the right ingredients is essential to creating delicious dishes that kids will love. That’s why we created our own brand range of high-quality catering products, Fairway Assured.

It’s made up of a growing portfolio of over 600 brand-leader products emphasising superior quality, price, taste, and consistency, often with higher ingredient ratios and winning out in blind taste tests. Every product is on a constant and ongoing cycle of improvement through benchmarking and rolling in feedback from caterers and members.

Choose Fairway Assured for exceptional value, taste and quality.

Explore the Fairway Assured range here


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