A north-east council is considering running its own food van service in schools as part of a major revamp of its catering service.
Aberdeenshire Council is currently reviewing the education food service to find ways to increase cost efficiency and find new ways to make cash.
Catering for weddings, supplying food for care homes and making up meals for private nurseries are some of the other ideas currently on the table.
Members of the council’s education and children’s committee were given an update on the review.
Catering service manager Ian Paterson told councillors they have been exploring different ways to raise money through the catering service.
He said food vans in schools would not offer the traditional fast food private mobile catering services offer.
Mr Paterson said: “We have looked at a lot of the different areas for diversification and we will look at some of the proposals in this report in finer detail.
“We would welcome any working groups who would want to join us.
“In relation to the secondary income we could potentially generate from income streams, one of those were food vans.
“They would help with the queueing and a lot of the pupils we spoke to just want to get out of the building so they have somewhere they can go.
“Pupils could come to us and still get that healthy and balanced meal without having to go into the town and purchase chips and cheese.”
Document highlights potential ‘street food model’ for schools
The report said food vans within the school grounds is an area for “further consideration” and it would provide “healthier alternatives.”
It said: “There would be an upfront investment but one that could be recuperated over the time the vans are in use. Food trends have been moving away from the sit-down meal to a much more of a ‘street food’ model and a ‘grab-and-go’ service.”
As well as the possibility of food vans the catering service review is also looking at finance, staff and ways to increase the number of pupils taking up school dinners.
The review was launched in response to different issues faced by the catering service including the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and free school meals for all primary school children.
Ellon and district councillor Louise Mcallister welcomed the review and said the document had two main strands.
She said: “What I’ve taken away from it is very much a two pronged approach. We want to feed our children and feed them well.
“We also want to have effective management and balance the books. There is certainly lots in the report for thought and discussion.”