School Food Sweden (SkolmatSverige)
School meals are provided free of cost for all children aged 6-16 years in Sweden and since 2011 the law states that school meals should also be “nutritious”.
A novel web-based system called SkolmatSverige (School food Sweden) was launched in 2012. It is currently used by almost half of all primary schools in Sweden, and it allows continuous evaluation of school meal quality as well as research relating school meal quality to health and educational outcomes.
SkolmatSverige consists of an instrument to be completed by the school, usually by the head of catering. The instrument covers six different domains. In addition, the school can choose to administer two questionnaires to pupils and staff at the school.
The six domains are:
- Food choice and provision
- Nutritional adequacy
- Safe and hygienic food
- Service and the pedagogic lunch
- Environmental impact
- Organisation and policy
Automatic feedback to the school showing their strengths and weaknesses in the different areas is provided. This feedback, plus encouragement to create an action plan is intended to help them improve their school meal quality.
Results and further work
Two years after the new law was introduced small but significant improvements were seen. Preliminary analysis suggests that repeated use of the instrument is helping schools to improve their school meal quality.
The data gathered makes it possible to conduct research on potential systematic differences in school meal quality in the country and on the health and educational effects of school meals. See www.skolmatsverige.se for more results in Swedish.