From providing on trend, school compliant menu ideas to helping you increase your meal uptake, we have everything you need for a successful school year.
When it comes to food, children can be the most demanding consumer! Younger children are still developing their likes and dislikes, so it is important to ensure that they eat nutritious meals whilst not encouraging them to become “fussy” eaters. Older children are so food savvy these days, so maintaining a healthy diet for them whilst trying to meet their expectations of school meals reflecting what they see on the high street is a huge challenge.
Trends to consider
With the population of 0-14 year olds expected to grow to 12.3m by 2024, schools will have to respond to increased demand. By contrast, the number of schools has fallen by 4.1% from 2005-2016*, increasing competitiveness of contract catering in schools. Parents are looking for value for money as the number of pupils eligible for school meals continues to fall across primary and secondary.
Focus on health
Over a fifth of children at reception were overweight or obese, rising to more than a third of year 6 children. Only 8% of 11-18 year old are achieving their 5-a-day, with the average at 2.8 portions. Too much sugar is being consumed, with the average daily intake of sugars as percentage of energy standing at 13.4% for 4-10yrs vs the PHE recommendations of 11%.**
As a nation we are a lot more multicultural than ever before. This means we are more open to trying new flavours and foods, and this also extends to children – with more people travelling nowadays, children have more access to new foods and flavours. Replicating different cuisines gives them a chance to try it in their own country, perhaps in a ‘fusion’ of flavours e.g. Korean barbecue brisket.
The School Caterer’s Handbook
We have created a School Caterer’s Handbook to make it easy for your teams to provide School Food Plan compliant meals to your pupils. This includes a 3 week menu cycle for primary schools and 4 week menu for secondary schools, as well as recipe ideas and handy hints and tips.
Menu cycles and recipes
Our development chefs have been busy creating recipes and menu cycles for your schools. We have a 3 week cycle for Primary schools and 45 recipes, and a 4 week cycle for Secondary schools, with 100 recipes. Our chefs have also created recipes for morning break, desserts and street food inspired dishes – take a look at the examples below, and contact your account manager for more options!
50% fruit recipes
We have lots of new recipes for desserts such as one-pot versions of traditional puddings, and exciting sweet tacos. Some of these recipes are made with 50% fruit, making it easier for you to pack more fruit into your pupils’ meals. Don’t forget to stock up on your non-food essentials such as clear pots and spoons!
Street food recipes
The street food trend is growing, and it’s here to stay! Take a look at these recipes inspired by high street chains, to encourage your pupils to eat in the canteen rather than on the high street.
Theme days for celebrations and events are a great way to get pupils engaged with different varieties of foods. Should you wish to host a theme day in your sites, for example on Chinese New Year or Easter, we can support with promotional posters, empty belly menus, recipes and suggested products. We also have lots of recipes for each theme day to give your menu that point of difference.
Meal uptake campaign
Meal uptake campaigns are a great way to get pupils interested in the food offering of the canteen. Particularly focusing on pupils coming out of the UISFM stage, but open to all, a 2 week long poster and sticker campaign is available to educate children about the foods on their plates in an enjoyable way, whilst increasing meal uptake.
Achieving food for life
Parents increasingly want reassurance that their children’s food is fresh, honest and additive free. The Food for Life Catering Mark is a Soil Association assurance scheme to help leading caterers give their customers the confidence that the products they are buying meet the matters they care about.
We are able to provide you with over 9000 products which meet at least one of the standards, and will help you work towards the Bronze, Silver or Gold accreditation.
One third of the UK population will develop an allergy at some time in their lives. The demand for ‘free from’ products is increasing, so it’s important to know how to cater for allergies and intolerances.
Our team of experts at the Bidfood Advice Centre are available for all your units to answer any question about our products.
School compliant range
We can provide a full list of school compliant foods to you – just contact our Bidfood Advice Centre. This can support the element of trust in your menus, and give parents peace of mind that their children are eating healthily at your sites. We also have an extensive range of school compliant drinks for you to choose from, as well as a planogram of a chiller cabinet to help you sell the products with the highest margin in your offering.
The free-from market is growing year on year, and we understand the importance of catering to allergen-free customers both for medical and lifestyle reasons. This is especially relevant for schools, as pupils will expect on trend dishes due to high street influences.
Working with the Coeliac Society UK we have published a ‘Gluten-Free Made Simple’ brochure detailing mandatory and best practice procedures surrounding gluten free catering, as well as a full list of gluten free products in our business.
Additionally we have a range of ‘gluten free favourites’ recipes which are perfect for the education sector. These recipes are based on popular school meals such as spaghetti bolognaise and the traditional roast dinner, allowing children who require free-from meals to eat on trend dishes alongside their peers.
With smaller portions and pack sizes we have a range of cuts suitable for all the favourite dishes on your school menu
Treat your staff and pupils to delicious, artisan quality coffee. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult with Black+White coffee
Take away packaging, crockery and cutlery to suit your dining rooms
Great value everyday products to help you serve up consistent quality at prices you’ll love
Gluten free, vegan, dairy free – our range helps you provide options to suit various student diets