Case Study:
Food For Thought, An ethical, sustainable and people powered model for nutritious school meals


“We’re in safe hands really. The customers own the company.”

Food For Thought (FFT) is a not-for-profit school meals company owned by its partner schools; their board of directors are the headteachers and any surplus profit is returned to the schools each year. 
The company was born 15 years ago when a group of disillusioned headteachers decided to take school meals into their own hands.
In the past year (2019-2020) they have:
  • Served 1,856,000 nutritious meals in 58 schools
  • Created six jobs in the past 12 months
  • Grown to a turnover of about £2.5 million
And they are anticipating further growth with potentially over thirty schools joining them in the next 12 months. 
Our ambition for Food for Thought is to grow the company to allow more pupils, and children and communities to benefit from the good food and the opportunities that being part of Food for Thought can bring. We want to increase the number of schools to offer our service to as many communities, families, children, and staff so everyone can benefit from Good Food.”
Tom Lambeth, CEO of Food for Thought Schools

“We’re a people company”

  • A limited company that is not-for-profit in its constitution; FFT are answerable to schools and communities, and paid for through public funding
  • All suppliers and employees are local
  • Any profit is given to the schools
  • Pupils, teachers and others who have an interest in school food help review school food culture and develop and implement an action plan to improve it (through School Nutrition Action Groups)
We’re a people company, we support the real Living Wage. We’re a good employer. We invest in our employees. We really do value our people. Without them, we wouldn’t have a company.”
Tom Lambeth, CEO of Food for Thought Schools

A dynamic response to the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic FFT were dynamic and responsive, altering their business model to reflect changes in school restrictions and responding to the needs of their community. During the first lockdown they adapted their staff roles and donated their labour to work with North Liverpool and South Liverpool food banks, British Gas, and Homebaked and many others to support the food bank parcels operation at Anfield Sports and Community Centre on Lower Breck Road. They also connected them with their suppliers during that time.

‘Good Food Culture’

The company is developing and working with schools to bring about Good Food Culture through food literacy, food preparation, cookery and growing. FFT have employed a full-time school-based cookery instructor to go from school-to-school teaching children to cook and appreciate food. FFT have employed an outdoor learning instructor to work with schools, to offer pupils outdoor learning and the opportunity to grow food with the community.
Food is a medium that transcends language, culture, and community. We are passionate about teaching children where food comes from, how to grow it, how to cook it, and at the same time serving them good food at lunchtime.”
Tom Lambeth, CEO of Food for Thought Schools