Promoting healthy canteen food

For students deciding which foods to buy, the way the canteen promotes and presents them is paramount. A new project from the Healthy Kids Association (HKA) is set to help school canteens market their healthiest options – for healthy kids and profits

Research shows that if healthy foods and drinks are promoted and placed strategically at the point of sale, school aged children will purchase more of them. But most school canteens are limited in the ways they can display foods at their point of sale and have limited, if any, resources for promoting home-cooked items.

The foods canteen currently promote are heavily influenced by materials made available free from suppliers. Visible branding of less-healthy foods is prominent as a result. To increase the promotion and marketing of healthier items, materials are need that are equally attractive and readily available.

This is exactly what a new project run by HKA will create. The program will gather a catalogue of tried and tested recipes and then create professional graphics and photography to promote them. The program will include both snack foods and main lunch items.

The result will be a suite of recipes suitable for school canteens, along with visual aids to use around the canteens, in newsletters, on menus and in posters throughout the school.

To complement these new recipe-poster combos, HKA will also be running marketing and promotion workshops for canteen staff. Staff will be shown how to use the new materials and to present the food to increase the sales of these healthy items. HKA staff will also be visiting schools to give direct assistance on marketing and using the materials.

More information will be available through the year from Council and via HKA’s ‘Healthy Kids’ magazine which is sent to all P&C-run public school canteens.

This article appeared in ParentACTion, Term 1, 2016. See other past editions of our quarterly magazine.