How to Get more Students to use School Catering Services

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 8 min read

School catering services are the best way to ensure the majority of pupils get a healthy, hot and nutritious meal on a daily basis. It gives them the energy they need to concentrate in class and fuel to grow and develop. So how can you get more students using such services?

Ban packed lunches to improve school catering services?

One school in Didcot Oxfordshire has taken a simple approach to encouraging the use of school catering services: it has simply banned packed lunches. The school has a lunchtime culture where all students and staff sit down together at the same time. It’s an important communal event each and every day, and the banning of packed lunches ensures all students are getting a healthy hot meal daily. Head of the Aureus school, Hannah Wilson said:

“Food education closes the poverty gap and delicious, nutritious meals should be a universal entitlement. With all of the headlines about food banks and obesity we are preparing our students for healthy lifestyles in the future.”

The school also only permits water as its lunchtime drink. It’s a novel interesting approach overall, and the school says it helps students perform well and nurtures a school community. Some parents would still of course rather have the choice to give their children packed lunches, so when adopting this approach, know you will not please everyone.

Making school catering services healthier

Up in Scotland, there is a concerted effort going on to improve the standard of school catering services. As we know, school meals have to follow guidelines that packed lunches do not, so they are nearly always healthier. But Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, in attempts to fight the childhood obesity problem in Scotland, wants to make the rules around school food stronger.

New plans would ban high sugar smoothies and fruit juices, reduce the availability of sweetened and baked goods, moderate red meat consumption and ensure at least two portions of veg and a portion of fruit are a part of all school meals.

The plans are in response to 29 per cent of all children in Scotland being overweight. The improved school food would hopefully encourage more parents to get their children using school catering services.

BioStore’s school catering services

Here at BioStore, we help schools make their catering services the most attractive and convenient choice for pupils and parents alike. We help deliver a cashless system that makes it easy for parents to pay for meals online or on-the-go, so they don’t have to worry about giving their child lunch money every day. And more importantly, we reduce queues at lunchtime with our speedy cashless authentication using biometrics, smartcards or PINs and passwords. Students get their meals in good time, leaving time to socialise or attend lunch time clubs as well.

Students love using our biometric system in particular as it gives them a quick and slick way to pay for meals. They can also never forget it, have it stolen from them, or lose it. Find out more about the FasTrak cashless catering service that can get more students than ever before using school catering.

Related links & news stories

BBC: School meal smoothie ban in obesity fight

Express: Anger at packed lunch ban in ‘healthy’ school