A new school food offer developed by Sodexo following extensive research into the type of food that pupils like and how they want to eat it has received its strongest endorsement yet after winning a catering contract from seven Wiltshire schools.
‘Food & Co. by Sodexo’ was formed on the back of analysis that showed schoolchildren between the age of 7 and 16-years-old have more sophisticated palates than ever before, boast a strong understanding of restaurant brands and want to eat in a relaxed environment that allows them time and space to connect with friends.
And after winning its first contract with 12 schools run by the Wellspring Academy Trust in Yorkshire last month, it has now landed a five-year deal with seven Swindon schools as part of a wider integrated facilities management contract worth £10m with ESSL.
Services within the scope of the contract include catering, cleaning, premises management, waste management, vending, helpdesk, utilities management, planned and reactive maintenance, and management of third party lettings. Most of these services will be self-delivered by a team of up to 100 Sodexo staff, along with some specialist contractors.
Significantly, the schools will benefit from the modern school food and dining room offer provided by ‘Food & Co. by Sodexo’.
Sodexo ran workshops with students at the Swindon schools to shape the new dining environment, as part of its ‘Agents for Change’ programme. The programme provides pupils with a meaningful voice to promote better health and wellbeing by ensuring the food and dining experience at their school is an inclusive and positive one that meets their needs. Students will also be involved in launching the new food and dining area to their peers as advocates.
Matt Garner, managing director for schools at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “We are particularly excited to be working directly with pupils at the schools through our ‘Agents for Change’ programme. So far we’ve had fantastic feedback from the students and are excited about the potential to deliver better engagement with food and better health outcomes as a result.”
Mr Garner said the feedback it has received from pupils shows that they are excited about the dining designs and the new menu concept.
Sodexo currently works with over 125 state schools sector and has more than 10 years’ experience delivering integrated facilities services to schools across the UK and Ireland. Its ‘Schools by Sodexo’ offer is designed to meet the needs of academy trusts that are increasingly looking for suppliers that can offer greater standardisation and integration of services across their schools.