Délice network

Innovation in school meals in focus

March 14, 2024

International School Meals Day

SchoolFood4Change (SF4C), a Europe-wide initiative spotlighting the power of schools in transitioning to sustainable food systems, has published a set of policy recommendations emphasizing the potential for innovation in school meals and nutrition education. The recommendations, which outline the need for at least one healthy and sustainable school meal daily and better integration of EU policies that affect school meals and food education, have been released in light of the upcoming review of the European Union School Scheme scheduled for the end of March 2024. 


Access to healthy and sustainable school food is not evident in many countries, despite the EU Child Guarantee, which is why we ask policymakers of the European Union to support the Member States in providing at least one healthy and sustainable school meal daily in all schools across Europe. Our SchoolFood4Change policy brief, which was presented at the Open Food Conference organized by the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council in Leuven (Belgium), explains how we can recognize every child's right to healthy, sustainable food and food education
Katharina Beelen, Policy Expert, Rikolto

These policy recommendations are, in part, based on the SF4C Whole School Food Approach (WSFA), which acts as a framework to encourage innovation and improvement in school nutrition, while fostering a healthy, sustainable food culture in schools. SchoolFood4Change partner schools in the Czech Republic have now reached the bronze level of the WSFA framework, denoting the inclusion of healthy eating and sustainable food production and consumption in the curriculum as well as the establishment of an internal school working group on nutrition, amongst other activities. 

Alongside the policy recommendations, an environmental impact calculator to help inform food procurement decisions is also under development. Furthermore, project partners have also published hands-on guidance for purchasers (from schools and cities), outlining innovative criteria and cases for procurement, to get healthier and more planet-friendly food on children’s plates. As part of the project, students' health is being scientifically monitored at a selection of SF4C partner schools. 

We want to assess children’s diet-related health issues and current sustainability challenges by asking ourselves how dietary changes in school menus translate into improved nutritional behaviors among students. In the end, we expect to find higher-quality diets in children taking part in the SchoolFood4Change activities. These results will help us to replicate the SF4C approach on a larger scale.
Irene Sánchez Vidal, Registered Nutritionist and Research Technician, University of Alcalá, Spain

SchoolFood4Change aims to encourage both sustainable and healthy diets on a broad societal scale by directly impacting over 3,000 schools in total and 600,000 school children in 12 European countries. Today - International School Meals Day - underscores the importance of “innovation in school meals” and schools’ role as catalysts for systemic, multi-actor change. 

Read the SchoolFood4Change policy brief here.  



The EU-funded project SchoolFood4Change was launched in January 2022, together with Délice, the Cities of Lyon and Malmö, and 34 other partners spread across Europe. SchoolFood4Change aims to engage schools as catalysts for a transformation towards a sustainable food system. Therefore, the 43 organizations from 12 European countries, coordinated by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, bring all relevant school food actors to one table: students, parents and teachers, farmers, chefs, and canteen staff, sustainable food procurement experts, dietitians, and local enterprises. The heart of the project is a three-fold approach that includes sustainable food procurement, the implementation of planetary health diets, and the holistic “Whole School Food Approach”. In the first year, the project teams have engaged schools and laid the foundations for a shift towards more sustainable food, by introducing the ‘Whole School Food Approach’ to participating schools. SchoolFood4Change is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program. It started in January 2022 and will run for four years. Findings will be replicable within and beyond the EU.  


Further information:   

Website: https://schoolfood4change.eu/   

#schoolmeals #schoolfood #SchoolFood4Change  #ISMD2024 


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