The Daily Mail is reporting that the unusual weather we’ve had over recent months has created a potato shortage with prices subsequently tripling in price compared with last year. As a result one council has banned them from schools meals, to be replaced with rice and noodles…
School dinners may never be the same again.
The rising cost of potatoes is forcing them from the daily menu. They have more than tripled in price from £91-a-tonne in 2012 to £295 this year, meaning schools can no longer afford to fry, roast or mash them.
So instead of featuring in every meal, potatoes will be served up just two or three times a week in some schools.
Rain, snow and ice through one of the wettest winters and coldest springs on record led to a shortage of home-grown potatoes, with imports having to make up the shortfall.
Nottinghamshire County Council announced the news yesterday, saying potato dishes in its school dinners would be replaced by rice and noodles.
A spokesman said school cooks had also noticed a downturn in the quality of potatoes. Kevin McKay, the council’s head of catering and facilities management, said: ‘The impact for school meals has been the rising price of potatoes, especially jackets, where wholesale prices have doubled and the quality is poor.
‘Other potatoes used for mashing and roasting are also sometimes poor and cooks have to be selective in what they can use.’
Mr McKay said the situation had ‘put pressure on the schools meals service’, which charges £2-a-meal. He said children had reacted positively to the new recipes which included braised rice and oriental noodles.
Some farmers have been forced to plant this year’s potato crop a month late because of poor conditions, placing even more pressure on last year’s stocks.
The Potato Council says the yield for 2012 was about 20 per cent lower than 2011, and with fewer acres under cultivation the total decrease was about 24 per cent.
Are potatoes disappearing from your school lunches? Is that necessarily a bad thing in a time of rising obesity? Please tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!