Head Mistress Jenny Barr
Catering Manager Lesley Love
EATS Catering Business Development & Support Manager Mr Chris Denny
A new scheme for school lunches was launched at Broke Hall Primary School in July 2013. Working closely with EATS Catering, and using eco-friendly, reusable Eco-Takeout boxes,the school has developed a new lunch time food concept called “Pick & Mix”, offering a two course freshly prepared self-serve ‘packed lunch’ made in the school kitchen. The Pick & Mix is the same price as a traditional hot meal and gives the children more choice, as well as healthy options, and reduces queues by offering an additional service point. This additional service is offered three days a week Monday – Wednesday. The concept has been so successful it has now been rolled out to 10 schools, with more to follow.
The food is laid out on to 4 separate tables with different coloured tablecloths. Children are given an Eco Takeout Box at the till, which they bring along to the tables to make their choices. The children fill the Eco Takeout box with 4 portions of food - one choice from each of the tables, which includes a minimum of 2 healthy options.After use the children stack the boxes on a clearing station ready for washing.
Lesley Love, the Catering Manager at Broke Hall commented that the children prefer the Pick & Mix option, and there is less food waste when compared to hot meals. EATS developed the Pick & Mix idea as a way to increase school meal uptake by appealing equally to school meal and packed lunch students. It is a great way of controlling the contents of a packed lunch to ensure healthy options are included.
Since the scheme was implemented the school has seen an increase in children who choose a school meal by over 30%
Jenny Cook, Head Teacher at Broke Hall has embraced the changes. She said “Prior to implementation of the Pick & Mix scheme it was important to involve the children and other team members. We held meetings to discuss how the system would be implemented logistically, the quality and types of food to include, and what style and size of food box would be ideal for the children to handle. The Eco Takeout box was chosen because the children find them much easier to hold than disposable containers or paper bags, and the school is keen to reduce waste and litter.” Eco Takeout boxes are made of sturdy polypropylene, are stackable and dishwasher safe. They can be used 100’s and 100’s of times, reducing litter and waste sent to landfill, whilst providing significant cost savings compared to disposables.