24th March 2011

School Meat Voucher Scheme a Success

Almost 20,000 pupils from across Scotland have benefited from Quality Meat Scotland’s nationwide Health and Education Meat Voucher Scheme.  Over 235 secondary schools took part in the initiative which was launched in September 2010, offering young people the chance to work on their culinary skills and learn the art of cooking red meat as part of a healthy balanced diet. 

Developed in response to reports that teachers in many Scottish schools are unable to afford fresh red meat products, the initiative provides teachers with to up to £100 worth of meat vouchers which can be redeemed at certified independent retailers and butchers.  The vouchers can be exchanged for fresh, local produce which can be used in cookery lessons to educate and inspire pupils to cook healthy, balanced meals at home.   

Denise Robertson, head teacher at Carrick Academy in South Ayrshire commented: ““The Quality Meat Scotland Meat Voucher Scheme has been a real benefit to our home economics department. It’s been really fantastic to have access to red meat from our local butcher’s shop, which has provided quality produce while supporting local retailers. It’s also meant our pupils have been able to cook with fresh food instead of frozen.  We’ve made delicious chilli, spaghetti bolognaise and cottage pie.”

Rachael Anderson, Quality Meat Scotland’s Health and Education Coordinator said QMS was delighted with the strong uptake of the voucher in the first year of the national scheme. “With more than a third of Scottish youngsters lacking in iron, red meat offers a good source of protein, iron b-vitamins, and zinc.  The Meat Voucher Scheme has helped to raise awareness among  pupils about eating a healthy balanced diet and hopefully will encourage young people to think about the many health benefits of protein rich foods like red meat when cooking”

Quality Meat Scotland Chief Executive Uel Morton , commented on the success of the initiative: “We are extremely proud of how well the Meat Voucher Scheme has been received and the very positive feedback from the schools involved. It has really added value to cookery lessons, showing children what fantastic quality produce we have available on our doorstep.

“Bad eating habits tend to stem from lack of knowledge and cooking skills.  This initiative helps to educate children at an early age on the ingredients available to them as well as showing them how to cook simple, nutritious meals that need not cost the earth.”

This announcement follows the launch of Quality Meat Scotland’s butchers’ healthy eating campaign, fronted by one of Scotland’s most inspirational sportsmen, rugby ace Chris Paterson.  Entitled ‘Strength. Energy. Growth – Red Meat Has it All’ the campaign aims to highlight the important role of red meat in a healthy diet and includes a booklet of simple, nutritious recipes featuring Scotch Lamb, Scotch Beef and Specially Selected Pork.

Meat Vouchers are available to home economics teachers across Scotland.  For more information on how to apply, teachers should contact Rachael Anderson, QMS Health and Education Coordinator on 0131 472 4041 or visit www.qmscotland.co.uk

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