Chartwells, which is the education catering arm of the FTSE 100 group, was accused of “utterly shameful profiteering” after a parent showed a picture of a basic meal provided by the company that was supposed to be worth GBP30.
The food parcels are being sent to families that normally receive free school dinners, replacing a previous GBP30 voucher given to parents to last for ten days.
“2 days jacket potato with beans, 8 single cheese sandwiches, 2 days carrots, 3 days apples, 2 days soreen, 3 days frubes. Spare pasta & tomato. Will need mayo for pasta salad,” said Twitter user Roadside Mum alongside her photo.
“Issued instead of GBP30 vouchers. I could do more with GBP30 to be honest.”
The Department for Education said it is looking into the matter.
A spokesperson for Chartwell’s said: “We take our responsibility to provide children with access to nutritious food very seriously. We have worked hard to produce food hampers at incredibly short notice during these challenging times.
“Our hampers follow the DofE specifications and contain a variety of ingredients to support families in providing meals throughout the week. In the majority of instances, we have received positive feedback.
“In this instance, the image on Twitter falls short of our hamper specification and we are keen to investigate with the relevant school so we can address any operational issues that may have arisen.”
Footballer and free school meals campaigner Marcus Rashford tweeted: “If families are entitled to GBP30 worth of food, why is there [sic] delivery only equating to just over GBP5?! 1 child or 3, this what they are receiving? Unacceptable”.
Other twitter uses pointed out what groceries could have been bought with GBP30.
#FreeSchoolMeals On the left GBP30 of food. On the right what private company Chartwells have supplied having been awarded a government contract to supply for GBP30 free school meals.
Utterly shameful profiteering off some of the country’s most disadvantaged kids! pic.twitter.com/XcmUm8qM1h
— MunchBunch (@Munchbunch87) January 11, 2021