Tik Tok & Instagram shapes new school food offering from Sodexo

Sodexo and AiP have just revealed that its culinary development team has been taking ‘inspiration’ from Tik Tok and Instagram to update its school food offering.

The food services and facilities management business, which feeds pupils in over 500 schools in the UK, has incorporated ‘fakeaways’ into its food menu strategy.

‘Fakeaways’ are healthier versions of takeaway-style food that can be enjoyed at home or at school. Schoolchildren can now expect to see healthy dupes of dishes such as chicken katsu curry and cauliflower korma showing up in the school dining hall.

James Mundy, food & retail transformation director for schools & universities at Sodexo, commented, “TikTok is currently shaping comedy, fashion and popular culture, so why not school meals?

'The food served in UK schools has come a long way in recent years. Health, convenience, and social media have all played a significant role in influencing the types of foods young people want to try and their relationship with food.'

Mundy continued, “Our catering teams work in partnership with schools and pupils on an ongoing basis to understand what they want and to collaboratively develop menus that spark a genuine foodie interest in young minds.

“This is the first generation to have been raised to fully understand the impact of climate change through education and social media. As such, we have seen a marked increase in pupils being more conscious about their food choices and wanting to be ethical and sustainable, resulting in more pupils embracing our plant-based options.'

Mundy, concluded, 'Young people are fundamental for the transformation towards healthy and sustainable food systems, so this is fantastic to see.”

Other social media-inspired dishes such as Mediterranean nachos – complete with feta, olives, crudites and sweet potato hummus – are already on offer to schoolchildren. The Sodexo team is exploring current foodie trends such as Baked Feta, Mochi and Foldable TikTok Tortilla Wraps to integrate them into future menus.

Tom Laskey, marketing director for schools & universities at Sodexo, added, “Our objective when incorporating these trends into our menus is to increase take-up of school meals, especially for those on free school meals. We know when pupils find the food served inspiring, they are more likely to choose a hot, nutritious school meal.

“If we can get more pupils eating school food, we should see improved health and learning outcomes that help each child to achieve their potential, supporting the closing of the inequalities gap and a more sustainable food system.”