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Real Bread in schools and universities

If you'd like to be added to this list to help inform and inspire others, please get in touch.  We'd like to hear from any school, hospital, care home, prison, or other institution funded by the taxpayer, which buys in Real Bread from a local bakery, or bakes it from scratch in-house.

NB - many of the notes were written by the institutions themselves.

See also


Case studies.

North Lincolnshire

February 2012

The Council produces school meals in eighty schools out of eighty-one within the local authority area. Of these, Real Bread rolls and baguettes are baked from scratch in sixty-six primary schools and twelve secondary schools.

In most of the primary schools, Real Bread is baked almost every day, and once a week in the secondary schools.

All of the Real Bread is made from scratch (i.e. not from mixes) using locally-milled flour, dried yeast, salt, margarine and sugar. [In February 2012 the Council has accepted an offer from the Campaign of a new recipe without this unnecessary added fat and sugar]

The total number of units produced per month across the area is approximately 18,000 in primaries and 1000 in secondaries.

Bread is included in the price of the meal in primaries, and either as part of a meal deal or priced separately in the secondaries.

The Council sees value in offering additive-free Real Bread, as this is in line with its aim of providing fresh, nutritionally balanced meals that are appetising to children.

Including bread making in the general training for new cooks adds to the skills it can offer to its 400 catering staff. The training is provided by more experienced of the cooks employed by the council.

The dough is mixed and kneaded in mixing machines and then proved in the hot cupboards that will later be used for keeping food warm during lunch service.

Total staff hours for each kitchen are determined by the number of meals provided. It is up to the manager of each kitchen to allocate this time to ensure all tasks are carried out. Bread making fits easily within this.

London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

March 2012

On 1 February 2011, Susanne Kent, a Catering Contract Monitoring Officer for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBK&C), met Real Bread Campaign co-ordinator at a Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency conference for teachers.

Their conversation helped to inform RBK&C’s decision to put Real Bread on the Menu at twenty one primary schools, three nursery/children’s centres, and two secondary schools in the borough - a total of twenty six sites. Susanne notes that the Campaign’s website ‘has also been a useful ongoing source of information.’ Criteria for the bread now include that it is organic, with reduced salt levels and no added sugar.

The contract to supply RBK&C’s schools is held by Alliance in Partnership (AiP), which specialises in catering for the education sector. In line the new specifications, AiP began to source organic, additive-free bread for the schools from Aston’s Organic Bakery, based about seven miles from the borough.  AiP now works closely with Syd Aston to create bespoke recipes for bread and other baked goods, many of which include at least some wholemeal flour.

The types of Real Bread now offered are as follows:

  • Tin loaves are used in both of the secondary schools for sandwiches everyday, and for slices on offer alongside meals every day at all sites.
  • Baguettes are used weekly for garlic bread in the primary and nursery schools and also for sandwiches in the secondary schools.
  • Burger buns are used once in a four week cycle for burgers in all schools.
  • Pizza bases are used twice in the four week cycle in all schools.

The Real Bread order per school varies depending on the menu and number of children at each site, but on average each school uses six tin loaves a week to offer as slices alongside meals. AiP works to a set meal price and menu items, including all Real Bread, are included in the price.

AiP’s Group Development Chef Amy Teichman said: ‘I will admit that is was hard at first to get people on board with the organic bread. People are so used to eating loaves with so many chemical additives, they seem to have forgotten what Real Bread tastes like. There were some complaints because Syd’s bread does taste different - it tastes like actual bread. We worked really hard in conjunction with the borough council to educate people about the realities of the industrial loaves they had been eating, and now, it’s working really well. Syd’s expertise has been invaluable and where necessary, he’s changed recipes to help us find the perfect mix for our schools. The children are now enjoying great Real Bread and so it’s been worth the effort.’

On 15 March 2012, AiP and the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea won the Real Bread Upper Crust award at the Good Food on the Public Plate Awards in recognition of this work.

Collaton St. Mary Primary School, Devon

Combination of in-house baking and out-sourcing from local baker

  • Purchases Real Bread and rolls from local baker twice a week
  • Makes pizza bases from scratch at the school, scones, and fairy cakes, using organic flour from Shipton mill—approx 50 fairy cakes and 100 scones per week
  • Buys in two loaves per day (variety – French stick/ harvester bloomer/ white Cobourg /cottage) and approx 10 rolls + staff rolls (granary)
  • Bread is included in the price of the meal – as part of the government guidelines bread should be offered as an extra
  • Cost saving for making our own pizza bases and we don’t by in mixes.
  • 214 pupils, average 70-90 dinners a day; two course meal is £1.95
“We decided that when we bought in the bread that it was very important that it was to be real bread. I sometimes take class groups for bread making at harvest and themed events, juggled in own time.  I weigh all ingredients out the day prior so that when I come in first thing I can get on and make the dough – it rises while I get on with other things.”  Sam Ward, head chef

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Medium scale, in-house baking

Waltham Forest Catering (WFC), the council’s in-house catering service, is the main provider of school meals in the borough.

  • WFC currently bakes Real Bread from scratch in all 62 primary schools it serves. The average price of a WFC meal is competitive with the rest of London, at £1.75/£1.80 in a primary/secondary school.
  • Bake bread everyday in all schools except where we transport food and in those schools we make 50% and purchase 50%
  • Bakes bread into loafs or rolls; enough bread is made for 1 slice or a small roll per child that is having a school meal
  • The cost of the bread is included in the price of the meal.  
  • Use the existing Hobart mixer and ovens
“This policy was introduced by our Operation Manager Christine Cornall who has a passion for cooking and good quality food and this is passed onto the cooks through training and encouragement by her team. Bread making is easily absorbed into the daily routine of the kitchen, the warm environment is ideal for proving the dough, the children do not eat huge quantities, so space is no obstacle, we also use dough for pizza bases as well.  The bread mix is made first thing and is incorporated in the cooks or catering assistants work schedule.  In our opinion, this is a cost saving.”   Martin Jordan, manager

London Borough of Sutton

In-house baking of pizza dough

  • Combination of in-house baking (pizza dough) and out-sourcing frozen products (baguettes), baked on site
  • Buys in wholemeal baguettes frozen, approximately 416 baguettes over 40 schools each week
  • Cost of bread is included in the meal for primary schools
  • Make own pizza dough using existing convection ovens and mixers
  • Are there any obstacles in particular that are holding the school back from baking more breads? - Time it takes is the issue.

Isle of Wight

Medium scale, in-house baking

Catering provided by Pabulum.

  • Bakes some bread every day at all schools with a kitchen, one loaf per school per day, using existing ovens and mixers
  • Mainly bake loaves which are used for additional carbs for lunchtime meal; sometimes bread is used for the meal e.g. Garlic bread served with spaghetti bolognaise.
  • Cost of bread is included in the cost of a meal; baking in house is a cost saving for us, not an added cost
  • Using the Council’s innovative ‘grant hours’ funding scheme, the catering teams are able to spend more time in the kitchen and work the bread making into their schedules. Depending on size, the Council funds 1/4 hr-1hr per school.

Universities with Real Bread targets

Thanks in part to the work of many Sustain member organisations and Sustain's own Good Food on the Public Plate project, many universities now have good food procurement policies that set (for example) ethical, environmental, health, community-support standards - or at least targets.

The following are those with explicit mention of one or more of our suggested bread criteria and therefore at least taking steps in what we see as the right direction.

If your policy is not listed, please email the details to realbread [at]

University of East Anglia

March 2012

From University of East Anglia's Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy:

'We will work with our suppliers, on an ongoing basis, to introduce baked goods, including bread, which do not feature unnecessary ingredients and additives, and which contain controlled levels of salt in line with Food Standards Agency guidance, and remove those that do.'

University College London

March 2012

From University College London's Healthy and Sustainable Food Policy:

'We will work with our suppliers to introduce baked goods, including bread, which do not feature high levels of unnecessary ingredients including salt and additives.'

Loughborough University

January 2012

From Loughborough University's Sustainable Food Policy:

'At present we are reviewing our bread products with a view to identifying whether we can remove any unnecessary ingredients and additives*, and reducing the levels of salt in line with Department of Health guidance**. This review will be completed by 2013.'

* As defined by the Real Bread Campaign
** Reference

University of Worcester

December 2011

From University of Worcester's Sustainable Food Action Plan:

'At least 50% of meat and meat products, breads, breakfast cereals, soups and cooking sauces, ready meals and pre-packed sandwiches (procured by volume) meet Responsibility Deal salt targets and all stock preparations are lower salt varieties (i.e. below 0.6g/100mls)'

Staffordshire University

March 2011

From Staffordshire University's Healthy & Sustainable Food Policy notes:

'We will work with our suppliers, on an ongoing basis, to introduce baked goods, including bread, which do not feature unnecessary ingredients and additives*, and which contain controlled levels of salt in line with Food Standards Agency guidance, and remove those that do.'

* As defined by the Real Bread Campaign

University of Gloucestershire

February 2011

From University of Gloucestershire's Sustainable Food Policy:

' As a leading sustainability institution the university is holding an increasing number of forums and conferences that need to reflect best practice. For these events the requirement will be;

Local or homemade bread.
Organic - if appropriate.

Original menus introducing new, local foods will be expected. Clear labelling focusing on provenance is important as well as catering staff involved with a function being fully briefed on the food being served.'

Bournemouth University

November 2010

From Bournemouth University's Sustainable Food Procurement Policy:

'We will aim to ensure that local or regional products are regularly available from at least two of the following categories, where possible:


6. Bread

However, value for money, price competitiveness, quality and sector factors, will necessarily be part of these considerations.'

Universities without any Real Bread targets

Many more universities have good food policies.

Sadly, though some have relevant aims or commitments (e.g. sourcing from local and/or SME suppliers, reduced salt, organic ingredients etc.), we have yet to find more that have standards specifically mentioning bread.

Universities: case studies

Oxford Brookes University

Small scale, in-house baking

  • Teaching kitchen for baking and hospitality kitchen but makes bread for University café/restaurant, as well as providing lunch for the students in the hospitality program.
  • Bakes bread every day; white and granary rolls everyday for both the restaurant on campus and for student lunches
  • Twice or three times a week we make specialty sourdough breads from a sourdough starter
  • We make 3 kilos of white dough and 3 kilos of brown dough for the restaurant each day; not sure how much is made for the student lunches, probably about the same, 3 kilos each (for about 24 student lunches)
  • The kitchen has 2 mechanical mixers, a proofer and some old, very nice bakers ovens
  • The sourdough bread is a long process and therefore isn’t made everyday but rather every few days

University of Winchester

Large volume, outsourced from local Real Bread baker

  • Buys in: white, granary sliced loaves for our breakfast/brunch offer (271 loaves in total), torpedo style rolls for our soup offer, as above white/granary, (1230), low Gi bread, (10) very slow seller so stopped now, baguettes, (58), white/granary torpedoes for our Deli bar (500), dinner rolls for our hospitality and Conference business (848), white burgers buns and hotdog rolls (with 5% wheat germ) (2950) +(150), granary/seeded baguettes for our canapés (20)
  • The added cost of buying in Real Bread depends on the product, but we have seen even massed produced loaves have crept up in price over last 18-24 months; some price have increased, some have been absorbed into menu
  • Benefits of buying in from a Real Baker: his flexibility, and willingness to please, as well as his product/business knowledge which a sales rep/telesales is unlikely to have
“We decided to have locally produced cakes, and tray bakes for our coffee bars and breads for the Deli Bar as well as our bid and audit for the Soil Association’s Food for Life award. We needed to ensure that all our bread, rolls, burger buns etc. had a minimum of 5% wholemeal flour in them.  Since working with our new baker, we have also increased our product range to include: smaller baguette, a new line in birthday cakes launched to staff and students this week as well as seasonal cakes for the various outlets; mince pies (using locally milled flour), cupcakes, Easter cakes, seasonal muffins.  Jason at Oven Door bakery has worked very closely with us to ensure we don’t have any ‘Southampton 7’ banned additives in any product we purchase (part of Soil Association accreditation).”  -Dave Morton

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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