Education caterer Caterlink has retained its school meals contracts in Camden and Islington, after the London boroughs combined their catering services in an attempt to save more than £1m a year.
The £7.5m contract, which will see Caterlink delivering 17,000 meals a day to more than 100 schools across the boroughs, marks the first time Camden and Islington have reappointed an incumbent school meals provider.
Caterlink began working with Camden in 2006 and Islington in 2007 and since that time it has helped to drive lunchtime uptake to an average of over 70% across the boroughs, comparing favourably to the national average in England of 41.4%.
Islington Council expects the combined catering contract to deliver annual savings of £900,000, while Camden is hoping for a saving of £270,000 per annum.
Neil Fuller, managing director at Caterlink, described winning the contract as "an incredibly emotional moment" for the firm.
"We've worked alongside Camden for five years and Islington for four years and are extremely proud of what we have achieved with them, from raising the numbers of children who eat school lunch at a greater rate than any other borough in the country through to becoming the first contract caterer to be awarded the Soil Association's Food for Life Accreditation," he said.
Caterlink first picked up the Camden deal after the incumbent, Compass Group's Scolarest, was graded as the poorest bidder and was criticised by parents for not delivering healthy meals.
Caterlink was bought by BaxterStorey and Benugo owner WSH Group in 2004.
By Daniel Thomas
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