New caterers opt for ‘fresh is best’ as they look to increase from 30 per cent to 70 per cent numbers at Ely College using school lunches

Ely College: L to R: Mike Richardson, sales and marketing director of Pabulum, Dave Wardle of Pabulu

Ely College: L to R: Mike Richardson, sales and marketing director of Pabulum, Dave Wardle of Pabulum and Dennis Baille, development chef of Pabulum. - Credit: Archant

A ‘go fresh’ campaign is to be launched at Ely College in a bid to encourage at least seven out of 10 students to opt for a school lunch.

If successful it would be an impressive leap on the current 30 per cent intake of students who eat off the school menu.

The college’s new sponsors Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) has agreed a deal with caterers Pabulum to provide the new look menu.

Nelson Williams, managing director of Pabulum said: “We want to create a fresh food culture within schools, that’s why all our meals are produced on site, from scratch, using fresh, nutritionally balanced ingredients.

“This is something we hope will help inspire a lifelong love of fresh food in young people.”

Mr Williams said his firm is passionate about the provenance and quality of the ingredients in its meals and has a 19 per cent food spend on organic food. All of the meat used in Pabulum’s school meals is British and meets the Red Tractor Assurance Certification and the Soil Association Food for Life standards.

He said: “Ninety four per cent is freshly produced in the college kitchen and 75 per cent of the raw ingredients used are locally sourced from the UK.”

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The new contract starts in September and will see Pabulum invest in the catering facility at the college, including a new ‘Food Cube’ for the college’s newly constructed communal area. It will also be rebranding and refurbishing the main restaurant to include a new express lane, before launching a coffee shop at the college - known as ‘I Love Coffee’ - in 2017.

Mr Williams believes the changes will reduce queues in the main restaurant and to meet the increasing needs of students who want a healthy fresh lunch but also want to attend clubs and other societies in the break/lunch time period.

He said Pabulum will start working to gradually move towards a 70 per cent uptake it has achieved with the other CMAT schools

Dr Ian McEwan, chief operating Officer for CMAT said: “Diet and eating habits play a key role in the school experience and we’re pleased to be working with a caterer whose visions and values match our own high standards.”