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Last Updated: Sunday, 24 April, 2005, 01:53 GMT 02:53 UK
School meals 'becoming healthier'
School dinners
Schools appear to be ordering less fattening food
A trend towards healthier school meals is picking up with canteens ordering less fattening foods, figures suggest.

Market research firm ACNielsen compared this year's sales figures for catering wholesalers that supply schools with those of the previous year.

Frozen chips sales fell by 521,000, frozen turkey sales by 463,000 and chocolate sales by 267,000, it said.

However, the reduction took place before TV chef Jamie Oliver's campaign for healthy school dinners began.

Media interest

Eleni Nicholas, managing director of ACNielsen UK said the figures were proof of a move away from unhealthy food.

"Following a year of constant media interest in health and obesity in children it seems that the sector has already begun to re-evaluate what is being served to our children," she said.

Statistics revealing healthy foods had increased their sales also reinforced the notion that school meals are becoming more nutritious, she said.

Still water sales were up by 230,000, while an increase was also recorded for drinking yoghurt, chilled fruit and vegetables and natural frozen fish sales.

Following a campaign by Jamie Oliver, the government pledged a 280 million package of investment into school meals, including a new panel of experts to offer advice and extra money for ingredients.

New rules are due to come into force aimed at cutting levels of salt, sugar and fat in processed foods served in schools, including burgers and cake.

The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have also promised to improve school meals.

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