Jamie Oliver ate my profits

16th June 2006 at 01:00
School caterers are fighting a rearguard action against Jamie Oliver's Turkey Twizzler tirade by paying for their own national TV advertising campaign.

They blame the TV chef for a slump in demand for school dinners. The Local Authority Caterers Association, which represents the suppliers of 85 per cent of English school meals, plans to advertise on terrestrial, satellite and cable TV from September.

They will target parents of primary children, hoping to reversing the 12.5 per cent drop in numbers eating school dinners since Mr Oliver began publicising their deficiencies in March 2005.

"We are looking to produce an advert to counter the negative publicity that Jamie Oliver brought about," said Kevin McKay, association chairman.

Jamie's School Dinners was credited with forcing the Government to set tough new nutritional standards, due to be introduced in September.

The caterers believe that, perversely, these standards have exacerbated the fall in demand by putting off chip-loving pupils in schools which already meet them.

However, their campaign will boast about the new rules, which limit chips to twice a week and insist on at least two portions of fruit and veg a day.

"It is about making parents aware of these standards and the importance of school meals in providing quality nutritional food that supports children in their learning," said Hazel Green, association spokeswoman.

"We will be showing that perhaps some of the imagery shown in Jamie Oliver's original programmes is not how it is."

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