School dinners will cost up to 25 per cent more this year compared to last.
Research by the consumer watchdog Which? found the take-up was so low that many councils found it uneconomic to provide hot meals. It said the quality needed to improve to encourage more pupils to eat them.
The research found that parents would rather give their children packed lunches because they were cheaper and their children did not like the food on offer at schools.
Meal prices have risen on average by around 2.5 per cent on last year. Bolton saw the greatest price rise at 25 per cent – although its prices remain the country's lowest at £1.25.
School dinners managed by Poole Borough Council are the most expensive in the country at an average of £2.50 this September. PAReuse content