The Healthy Futures Partnership is a public-facing charity that aimed to give people, educators and organisations access to reliable information on nutrition that is grounded in science.
Sodexo planned to deliver this approach across some 250,00 children and young people across 550 state and independent schools where it and its subsidiary Alliance in Partnership deliver school meals.
This would consist of changes in menu design, combined with a range of evidence-based nutrition education programmes, including the British Nutrition Foundation’s nutrition and health and wellbeing training for Sodexo’s frontline catering teams as a key part of their continuous professional development.
Learning resources will also be created to help train chefs and for teaching staff to use in the classroom to help children and young people to learn and improve their understanding of nutrition, cooking and food provenance.
Rosemary Molinari, head of Health & Wellbeing for Schools and Universities at Sodexo, said the group had a responsibility to educate the children and young people it catered for.
“This generation, after all, is the first to have never known a life without unlimited access to people or information through social media, so we want to ensure they can access trusted advice to make informed decisions about their nutrition,” she added.
“The more we can educate students about their food choices, the more likely we will influence their performance whilst learning, their behaviours and their health and wellbeing into adulthood.”
To ensure that the programme delivers the difference it seeks to make, the British Nutrition Foundation will independently monitor and report on its impact through evaluation and feedback from staff, pupils, and teachers.
British Nutrition Foundation science director Sara Stanner added: “It is important for all children and young people to receive good education on food, nutrition and health so that they are equipped with the necessary skills to make healthy choices and to eat well now and in the future.
“We welcome the opportunity to work with Sodexo as part of the Healthy Futures Partnership to help them make a meaningful difference to the health and wellbeing of the young people they serve, as well as to support the staff involved to deliver food education in schools through training and resources.”
Meanwhile, reforming the approach to food in schools would help wean UK consumers off junk food and improve their diets, according to The Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith.