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What our award-winning food offer says about us

Sodexo Schools & Universities launched Five Foodie Days, our government school’s food menu, back in September 2018 with an aim to revitalise the standard school dinner to better meet the needs of pupils, parents and schools. In 2020, Five Foodie Days received the Public Sector Honours award at The Health & Vitality Honours as testament to the holistic approach Sodexo takes to supporting the health and wellbeing of young children.

As a caterer with a mission to improve the quality of life of those we serve and work with, Sodexo is committed to improving the quality, nutrition and appeal of the meals we provide our customers. In government schools across the UK, our Schools & Universities colleagues serve customers who are some of the youngest, and sometimes the most vulnerable, in our society.

Responding to a need for change

Through our Food & Co. catering and dining solution for government primary schools, Sodexo Schools & Universities wanted to create a food menu for pupils that offers an alternative view to the traditional school dinner. By implementing findings from research conducted by the Department for Education (DfE), and proprietary insights captured from key stage two pupils, the food menu we created was ultimately designed to reflect a modern and cosmopolitan meal service that reflects high-street food trends to increase the uptake of school meals.

The research underpinning our menu creation confirmed that when young people are eating nutritious, well-balanced meals every day, it has a positive impact on their health, wellbeing and learning outcomes.

With a theme for each day of the week (Street Food Day, Originals, Planet Earth Day, World Food Day and Friday Favourites), the Five Foodie Days menu meets the need for food variety through a range of health food options, including:

  • plant-based dishes;
  • a greater range of nutritious desserts;
  • and tasty vegetarian options that encourage pupils to try new flavours.

Five Foodie Days also encourages pupils to become involved with their school meal service via our Agents for Change programme. This initiative is supported by Sodexo’s on-site catering teams and provides pupils with regular touch points and feedback on our service, helping to bridge the gap between food, the school curriculum and children’s health and wellbeing.

We’re going beyond the plate

Since its launch in September 2018, Five Foodie Days continues to deliver its intended goals. The menu has been well received by clients, faculty, pupils and parents alike.

The popularity of Five Foodie Days has encouraged greater numbers of pupils to choose a school meal, evidenced by one of our pilot schools who trialled the menu during its research stages. In the pilot, we saw a 13% increase in the uptake of school meals during the first nine weeks of the new service compared to the previous year.

This growth in sales demonstrates the appeal of our food menu and how it is assisting schools in their efforts to enhance the health, educational and wellbeing of their pupils. The menu has also seen a significant increase of school meals amongst pupils eligible for Free School Meals (FSM), supporting schools to close the distance between pupils from different economic backgrounds.

Through the programme Agents for Change we have also continued to receive verbal feedback for the menu’s success and how it is giving pupils the opportunity to support their own nutritional and social journey. One of our Principals commented: “Agents for Change has given the younger Agents responsibility and empowerment.”, while a Year 5 pupil told us:

I am proud to be an Agent because it makes me feel special. You get to go in the kitchen and talk to people, and you make new friends.

You can learn more about the Five Foodie Days pilot and launch in this case study which was created in January 2019. The case study showcases how our industry leading approach has been able to redefine what school meals look and taste like for the next generation.

This is our bread and butter

In February 2020, Five Foodie Days was awarded at the Health & Vitality Honours with the Public Sector Honours award. The award recognises Sodexo’s commitment to health and nutrition in the food service industry. You can read more about the award win in Sodexo’s official press release here.

Five Foodie Days has helped to generate excitement around school meals by modernising the menus and placing pupil engagement at the heart of the service.

We believe that this award win affirms our holistic approach to health and wellbeing in young children and illustrates our dedication to supporting schools with the optimum conditions for learning, thereby improving pupils’ educational attainment and overall quality of life – something that we have been working towards within the UK and Ireland education sector for more than 50 years.

February 18, 2021

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