The link between inadequate nutrition and poor mental and physical health has become a central theme upon which an increasing number of educational establishments and businesses are now focusing. As countries battle with the unfolding global obesity crisis – which, evidence suggests, has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – it is clear that the UK needs to act swiftly to prevent another health crisis from taking hold of the NHS and the wider economy in general.
Traditionally, a family’s shortlist for their children’s choice of school may have been shaped around factors including geographical location, league table results, academic and/or sporting facilities, and overall reputation. Heritage and history will inevitably play a part in the selection of older institutions and, for the private sector at least, prestige and cost can no doubt also influence the selection process. Rarely did the catering facilities, character of the foodservice staff, sourcing procedures or the prioritisation of healthy living initiatives influence decisions in relation to which establishment their children ended up attending.
Fortunately, this is all now changing for the better as schools begin to recognise the connection between high quality foodservice, innovative nutritional initiatives and dedicated, experienced staff. It’s a concept we call Fuelling Productivity, and with the launch of the Scottish School Food Awards there is now a way of appraising, acknowledging and rewarding the institutions and individuals who prioritise foodservice and well-being for pupils and staff. Ultimately, foodservice has never played a more important part in promoting health, nutrition and well-being, and now is the time to acknowledge and reward those who embrace the link between healthier lifestyles and improved happiness and productivity.