Marketing & Education

Marketing in food service ranges from finding local sponsors, to creating a brand and promotional materials, to hosting Junior Chef competitions to engage students in cooking and menu design. Marketing is communication, education, and engagement with the district, parents, students, and community. School meal programs offer more than just feeding kids, and part of our role in food service is to reach out to our stakeholders through marketing and education.

Marketing Your Program

The most successful school lunch programs are supported through effective marketing and education programs that connect food with developing healthy lifestyles, nutrition education, agriculture, and cooking. This section covers:

Posters and Signs

The cafeteria isn’t just a place where kids eat, it’s also a learning environment where you can visually reinforce the healthy food messaging through menus, activities, and events. Visual food education in the cafeteria can take on many forms—from posters depicting appropriate portion sizes to signs about salad bar etiquette.

Junior Chef Competitions

Hosting a junior chef competition in your school district is an innovative way to increase student participation in your school food program. The competition is appropriate for both elementary and secondary level contestants. You can also involve the local community to engage more stakeholders.

Lunchroom Education

We often hear people say: “I want our school food to be better.” But the reality is, while we can change the food, the real work is in engaging the students—teaching kids that food is fun, and that making “good choices” also equals “delicious choices.” Using cafeterias as classrooms is an absolute must for building a truly healthy next generation. This section covers:

Volunteers and Interns

An excellent way to strengthen educational efforts in the lunchroom is through learning events such as Lunchroom Education. Volunteers and interns are a huge help in this area; they can assist staff and provide one-on-one student engagement, which is important for making lasting impressions.

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