Benefiting from the Jamie Oliver effect

Turkey all year around and a huge increase in the chicken business is a notable change in food service supply for R Manners and Sons at Ponteland near Newcastle.

Director Geoff Manners has had to increase preparation area specifically for poultry to bone and prepare turkey roasts and diced chicken especially for school meals.

More Government money for school meals was one benefit of the Jamie Oliver TV reality programme, says Geoff, and the emphasis on healthy eating has boosted sales of poultry meat. The downside of the TV star's campaign is that parents believed school meals to be poor and so changed to packed lunches where there is no control over the nutrition, he says.

The company also supplies hospitals and works canteens which are more professionally managed today with higher specification of meat. Home killed beef and home produced pork is in demand but the seasonality of lamb and the need for continuity and constant specification means imported supplies are still important.

Geoff would like NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency to have greater control over buying meat for hospitals.