Sussex Food contractor Chartwells is behind those shambolic school meal boxes

Chartwells almost cut 51 jobs at Sussex Food right before Christmas

Parents have been left furious this week after receiving food parcels for their children in lieu of £30 meal vouchers, with the minimal amount of food per package being valued at no more than £5.

The private company contracted by the government to produce the dismal food parcels, intended to feed a child for ten days, is called Chartwells. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s the same company who attempted to cut 92 per cent of Sussex Food staff just months before the Christmas period.

Chartwells, part of the Compass Food Group, is a large multinational contractor which provides catering services to thousands of schools, universities, hospitals and other establishments across the world, Sussex Food being just one of their clients.

In October of last year, The Sussex Tab exclusively revealed that Chartwells were planning to make up to 51 staff members at Sussex Food redundant, following a lack of business and economic downturn caused by Covid-19. The affected key workers, some of whom had been working at Sussex Food for years, were left with the prospect of being unable to afford rent over the Christmas period.

As a result, staff and supporters rallied to pressure Chartwells and Sussex University to find a way to let staff keep their jobs. Following demonstrations, an open letter and a lot of fundraising, an agreement was reached between Chartwells and the university to place staff on furlough until March 2021.


A spokesperson for Chartwells has said: “We take our responsibility to provide children with access to nutritious food very seriously. We have worked hard to produce food hampers at incredibly short notice during these challenging times. Free school meals firm offers very different serving at private schools.

“Our hampers follow the DofE specifications and contain a variety of ingredients to support families in providing meals throughout the week. In the majority of instances, we have received positive feedback.

“In this instance, the image on Twitter falls short of our hamper specification and we are keen to investigate with the relevant school so we can address any operational issues that may have arisen.”

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