Scoring top marks in school

21/10/2008 - 00:00
Satisfying fussy apetites is a tough job but a new online menu planner helps caterers get nearer to their goal. We talk to one menu planner to see how this new tool is making a difference.

The challenge With the recent introduction of the Government's food-based and nutrient-based standards for school lunches, developing a tasty lunch-time menu which meets the legislation is no mean feat. "With nutritionally balanced meals becoming more and more important, today's school caterers are faced with more challenges than ever," says Martin Lines, marketing director, Nestlé Professional. "Meeting budgets, keeping children happy with menu choices, and managing the sometimes negative perceptions of school meals, are all part of the challenge. We wanted to do something to help, not only to appeal to the appetites of children of all school ages, but also, to do it in a timely and cost-effective way." The solution The result is the online Maggi Menu Solutions 'Education Planning Tool', specially designed to help school caterers facilitate quick and efficient menu planning in line with new legislation. Developed by a team of nutritionists, home economists and education experts at Nestlé Professional, the online tool comprises a wide range of recipes, nutritional information and helpful hints and tips to help school caterers through the menu planning process. Every Maggi recipe has been developed to meet the School Food Trust's food-based standards and is supported with data for each of the 14 nutrients in the nutrient-based standards. The Maggi 'Education Planning Tool' allows caterers to plan tasty menus with confidence, at the click of a mouse. Additional Maggi materials can also be accessed online, including posters and A5 parent cards in a flexible format that allows caterers to create their own messages for the school. A 'primary' example Janet Sylvester, area menu planner for 110 primary schools in Doncaster, knows only too well the challenges associated with feeding pupils. So when the Government announced its stringent new rules for primary school meals effective from September, Janet turned to Nestlé Professional for advice. "We have worked closely with Nestlé Professional for a number of years incorporating many of its Maggi products (Maggi Multi Use Tomato Sauce, Maggi Cold Mix Mash Potato and the range of Maggi Natural Paste Bouillons) into our menus. We looked at the online Maggi Menu Solutions tool when it was launched and for us, it was a natural choice to adopt it in our schools. "The online tool is an invaluable aid to my role as a menu planner. There are popular recipes such as Salmon & Broccoli Pasta, which incorporates Maggi Multi Use Tomato Sauce and it's extremely useful to have all the nutritional analysis for Maggi recipes available. Having the information I need readily to hand saves me a lot of time when planning the three week menu cycle for schools. I can simply select the recipes I would like to incorporate into the menu and add them to my folder. Information is easy to digest and presented in a compelling, yet simple to navigate format, and I can also use the tool in conjunction with the Saffron Nutrition menu planning software. "We trust Nestlé Professional. We know that Maggi Menu Solutions has been tried and tested, and it works. What's more, the children love the meals. It has helped us to maintain an interesting and varied menu, which fully complies with the Government's standards. As a result, we have been able to win the full support of parents and maintain a meal uptake of 57% in our primary schools, which is well above the national average. "The nutritional information provided on the 'Education Planning Tool' from Maggi Menu Solutions allows us to educate parents on our menu whilst they sample the meals at regular taster sessions held at the schools. The feedback from these sessions has been extremely positive, and many parents are pleased with the variety of meals served on the menu, which are healthy, fun and tasty too." To get started, simply register on For additional information on Maggi®, please contact Nestlé Professional®, Tel:

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