Free School Meals: food transport special

FEM offers advice and puts together food transport and serving ‘package’ for primary schools

Part of FEM's Cambro range of food transport systems for schoolsMany primary schools without kitchen facilities bring in food, from larger schools or a central production unit. Pressure will be increased enormously in September with the advent of increased free school meals provision.

FEM (Foodservice Equipment Marketing) supplies the Cambro range of school meals delivery boxes and ancillary systems. The company can provide a variety of options, with a wide choice of insulated transport boxes complemented by a range of polycarbonate and polypropylene gastronorm pans and lids to hold and serve the food. Cambro also manufactures High Heat food pans, which are safe up to 190°C, making them suitable for use in microwave ovens and bains maries.

“The breadth of the Cambro offering means we can tailor the package to suit individual schools, or the needs of a school cluster,” says Mark Hogan, marketing manager of FEM.

According to FEM, schools who are upgrading their food transport system need to consider four distinct factors.

  •  The type of container: for hot or chilled food it will need to be insulated and lightweight – but tough enough to handle the inevitable knocks of transport. It should be designed to hold gastronorm containers, to be compatible with cooking and serving equipment. There is a choice of top loading or front loading boxes, as well as dedicated drinks dispensers.


  • Holding time: depending on how long food needs to be held in the insulated boxes, and how often the boxes are opened, they may need extra heating or chilling en route. This can be achieved using heated or chilled plates, such as the CamChiller and CamWarmer, or, for longer periods, boxes fitted with a heater can be used.


  • Holding capacity: this is all about how many meals will be served. It’s important to get it right, since the boxes need to be as full as possible to deliver the maximum temperature retention. Most insulated box manufacturers will be able to give capacities in terms of the number of full size 100mm deep gastronorm pans they can handle.


  • Transport requirements: once the number and type of boxes is known, the school needs to check they will fit into the vehicle being used to transport them. Many boxes are available with wheeled transport dollies, but be sure to check staff are able to lift the boxes safely in and out of any vehicle used.

All the insulated boxes and food pans are dishwash safe, helping to minimise the workload for busy catering staff.

Cambro insulted boxes cost from as little as £190.