Nutri-Score makes its debut in the school canteen to educate children and adolescents and better inform their parents

In Elior school restaurants, the Nutri-Score labeling system will now be adapted to the menus of children and adolescents. Nutri-Score’s color-coded, alphabetical labelling system informs consumers of the nutritional quality of their food.

This transparent and readable nutritional information makes it possible to teach students and their parents and help them choose a healthy and balanced diet.

The composition of children’s' menus must respect their nutritional balance

When creating children’s' menus, dieticians have to consider several factors:

  • The needs of children and adolescents with regard to certain specific nutritional elements, such as iron, calcium and essential fatty acids (omega 3), which are necessary for their growth
  • The minimal amount of raw vegetables and fresh fruit per meal
  • Legislation, which for example imposes featuring one vegetarian menu per week in the school catering sector (Egalim law)
  • A balanced diet on the scale of one meal and over 20 successive meals
  • The seasonality of products
  • The tastes of children to ensure that the recipes are appreciated by our young guests

Technical constraints, such as hygiene standards and the kitchens’ material resources

Nutri-Score provides additional information to help consumers make the right food choices

Once the menu has been established, Nutri-Score provides transparency on the nutritional quality of the ingredients served to our children. Nutri-Score’s 5-color coded logo provides information on the nutritional quality of a recipe or a dish: each product is graded on a 5-level scale ranging down from Grade A products, which are deemed to be the most nutritious, to Grade E products that are considered the least nutritious. The category attributed to the food is depicted by the largest letter displayed on the logo.

As such, this information is easy to read and understand for everybody, and directs the consumer to the nutrients and foods they should prioritize (fibers, proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, rapeseed and nuts.), and those they should limit (energy, saturated fatty acids, sugars, salt).

Given the specific needs of children and adolescents, the objective is not to choose products that are only classified A or B and to exclude D and E altogether. For example, an A-graded dish is not always the best option: although the vegetarian dish has a more favorable Nutri-Score than sautéed beef, the iron present in meat products is better absorbed than iron derived from vegetable sources. On the other hand, E-graded dishes should not always be avoided: some cheeses are often classified as D or E Grade because of their nutritional composition. However, cheese is an important source of calcium, and therefore, although richer in fat, they contain a large amount of calcium which covers a good part of the needs of children and adolescents.

To ensure the good health of children and adolescents, it is therefore important to vary their diet. Their diet must include all food groups in balanced proportions, so as to optimally cover their nutritional needs. The key is to ensure a balance over 20 consecutive meals, and to compare together similar products. Informing young people and their parents about the nutritional value of the meals they consume in the school canteen enables them to manage their nutritional balance over several meals.

Nutri-Score to be rolled-out gradually in Elior school canteens

From the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, Nutri-Score has been displayed in several pilot establishments. Thereafter, it will be rolled out during the school year in all the canteens operated by Elior, in France. This gradual deployment will make it possible to adapt Nutri-Score to children's menus, in conjunction with all stakeholders involved: students, parents of students, school directors and public authorities.

The implementation will be carried out via proximity advertising in secondary school canteens, coupled with an information device designed to remind young people of the importance of a varied diet that combines nutritional needs and pleasure. For parents, it will be carried out via proximity advertising outside the school and, as of January, this information will be available on Elior's mobile application for families.


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