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Marketing your school food

Marketing your school food
Marketing school food
School food marketing is all about simple and effective communication to attract more children to enjoy school meals on a regular basis. Communicating with parents is equally important.

It is important to make the school lunch experience appealing, and something that children look forward to every day. As such marketing activity should be focused on maximising engagement.

Engaging with children
Even if parents agree to take up school meals, it is vital for children to want to eat them in order to get their daily nutrients. Teaching children at a young age about good food and the importance of eating healthy meals, and how school meals can help them to eat healthily, will increase the uptake of school meals throughout the child's academic life.

Introducing elements of this into the school curriculum at primary school level has been made easier with the Children’s Food Trust’s curriculum packs for different key stages. These can be downloaded from their website

Communicating what’s on the menu for that day will help build excitement and anticipation of lunchtime. This can be done through classroom briefings and having a menu on display in key areas.

Point of Sale
Posters and other forms of POS should be used to advertise upcoming menus and specials. POS can also be used to remind children of the principles of healthy eating and to brighten up eating areas.

Loyalty cards
Loyalty cards are an effective tool and are a great way to increase repeat visits (probably more suited to secondary schools).

In secondary schools, a great way to stimulate interest in school meals, is to copy successful promotions seen in the retail environment such as bundle ‘Meal Deals’ (including fruit and a drink).

Engaging with parents
Parents are the key decision makers. They decide whether a child eats school meals (particularly in primary schools) as they are usually responsible for the funding. Parents opt out of school meals for a number of reasons including; Price, Quality, Child’s lack of desire to eat school meals.

Key messages for parents
The School Food Standards ensure children have a healthy midday meal. It is vital to keep parents up to date and let them feel in control. Communication with the parents about school meals MUST be regular;

A small newsletter with up to date information which might only go out each time the menu cycle changes

A letter or leaflet that is given to new parents when registering their children

Invite parents to a tasting session to showcase how good the food is.