30 May 2012
Students in several Jersey secondary schools have overwhelmingly welcomed changes to their meal service, including a move to more healthy options.
In a survey carried out last term, nearly 90% of the young people responding said they were happy with food on offer through the Jersey School Food Standards, which were introduced in September 2010.
As part of the standards, popular but less healthy products were replaced with healthier food and drinks. Despite this, both sales and customer feedback has been positive overall in schools that use the new system.
The news comes as Grainville secondary school opens its new dining facility this term.
The student survey was part of an evaluation carried out following a review of the dining service in 2009, which looked at issues around the quality, price and availability of food in Island secondary schools. As a result of consultation with head teachers, students, parents and contractors, a number of changes were made to improve the provision and nutritional quality of the food on offer in schools.
The recent survey found:
- 89% of students completing a customer survey rated the current lunches as either delicious or ok with only 3% rating it as disappointing
- flavour, variety, availability of hot food, and great staff were commonly highlighted as the best thing about school lunches
- reducing the cost of food, was listed as the most common factor that would improve school lunches
- all 5 participating schools indicated that use of the catering facilities by staff and students had either remained the same or increased, despite phasing out popular, but less healthy, products
Karen Le Cornu, Health Improvement Officer, said "These results are very encouraging. While some students would like to see chocolate bars and fizzy drinks return to the shelves, the survey results indicated that many students are happy with the new service and the choices on offer."
Jeremy Harris, ESC’s Assistant Director of Policy and Planning, said "The schools concerned have opted to share a single catering contractor and this has brought benefits. Not only has it resulted in a more cost effective service, it has also made it possible to improve and monitor the nutritional quality of the food on offer. The first year of the contract has seen confectionary phased out and replaced with healthier alternatives. Limitations have been placed on deep fried foods and there is provision of staff training in both nutrition and food safety."
In addition to improving school catering facilities so that a variety of fresh food can be prepared on-site, a new cashless card payment system has been introduced in several schools. This will reassure parents that their child is spending their lunch money within their school, where the new nutritional standards ensure that a wide choice of healthy products are available.