Free school lunch had its 70th anniversary this year. Even though school lunch has long traditions and it is served free of charge, in worst cases 60% 8th and 9th graders skip their lunch (Yle 28.9.2018). What is more, there are a lot of variety between schools.
In the Yle’s article was interviewed Susanna Raulio from National Institute of Health and Welfare. According to her, the primary reason for skipped lunch is the taste of meal. As a solution, Raulio suggest schools to listen pupils when planning menus.
In Jyväskylä Normaalikoulu pupils are heard on canteen board. The board has meetings twice a year.
– We evaluate together the previous semester and accept the menus for coming semester. The board has been running over 30 years, tells the leading rector of Normaalikoulu Pekka Ruuskanen.
There are almost 1100 person having their lunch daily in Norssi. This challenges the kitchen since there are huge variety of preferences for taste. For this reason the board includes many key stakeholders.
The leading rector is board’s chairman. Together with him there are representatives from primary, secondary and high school who are named by student council or union. Public health nurses from all the three schools attend the meetings too together with a representative from custody side.
Semma Campus Restaurants takes care of lunch production and their restaurant’s manager is also present in the meetings together with two cooks.
Board’s mission is to enable dialog between crucial partners and develop the menus. The goal is to offer food that suits for every pupil.
– There is no reason to make food no one eats, says Ruuskanen.
Food is in the core of learning. High energy levels enable pupils’ concentration during classes. According to Ruuskanen, the cornerstones for school lunch are quality, wholesomeness and quantity.
– We serve every day both vegetarian and home food choice in which are both taste and nutrition considered.
School lunch has educational function. Pupils are taught for responsibility which means there are no restrictions for quantity of food that can be eaten. Pupils evaluate their hunger and fit their portions on that. If needed, food is allowed to take more afterwards.
In Norssi food is cooked by Semma Campus Restaurants which operates in 13 other locations on campus area. According to Ruuskanen, accessibility is important when developing school lunch.
– The key persons are within walking distance, restaurant’s manager on the downstairs and Semma’s CEO together with the chairman on University area, says Ruuskanen.
According to Semma’s CEO Jarmo Sallinen, Norssi’s canteen board is good example of model for food and service development.
– In general, it is important to keep on active and continuous dialog between students, personnel and Semma in university community, tells Sallinen.