SCHOOL meals providers have a problem. Since new food guidelines came into force in January kids have been turning their noses up at new recipe fruit puddings.

According to the new School Food Standards school kitchens must serve puddings which are at least 50 per cent fruit, twice a week.

But according to Taylor Shaw, County Durham’s main provider of school meals to 213 primary schools, large numbers of children are leaving the cooked fruit contents on the sides of their plates.

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Now, in a bid to come up with new recipes which children will enjoy Taylor Shaw has decided to give the children of County Durham a unique opportunity to create their own personal favourites which could influence the nation’s school dinners.

Lynda Walker, general manager for Taylor Shaw, said: “The idea came from our school cooks. They were concerned that the children were not eating their lovely pudding. Even though we developed recipes that we thought the children would love our cooks noticed that the children were not eating the fruit element.”

Taylor Shaw believe this must be a national problem.

“We decided to come clean and ask for the help of children, by tapping into their imagination through art work, cooking skills and poetry,” she added.

As a result Taylor Shaw is working with three County Durham schools to help develop fruit desserts children will enjoy.

The first school to get involved was Byerley Park Primary School in Newton Aycliffe.

The youngsters from year 5, all aged between nine and 10, were encouraged to be creative about what the new fruit dishes would look and taste like.

With the support of company nutritionist Carole Reid the youngsters came up with 12 suggestions which were voted on by the whole class.

The winning suggestions - which will be tasted by pupils at Kirk Merrington Primary School in Spennymoor later this month – were: berry-cherry pie, piggylicious cheesecake, Byerley brownies, Ollie’s fruity break, Falconer’s fruit favourites and crazy cornflake tart.

The third school to be involved will be Stanhope Barrington CE Primary School in Weardale.

Cath McLoughlin, area manager for Taylor Shaw, said: “It is the amount of fruit we have to include which is proving tricky. For instance, something like traditional Eve’s Pudding would only be about a quarter fruit.”

Fruit smoothies are very popular but the youngsters at Byerley Park school don’t like bananas and custard.

Harrison Jones, 10, said: “We have to eat more fruit because it makes us healthy.”

Erin Clarke, also 10, said: “I like watermelon but I like to pick the seeds out.”