Title: Public Procurement of Food for Health: TECHNICAL REPORT ON THE SCHOOL SETTING
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2017
JRC N°: JRC105657
ISBN: 978-92-79-67466-2 (pdf)
978-92-79-67465-5 (print)
978-92-79-75033-5 (ePub)
ISSN: 1831-9424 (online)
1018-5593 (print)
Other Identifiers: EUR 28544 EN
OP KJ-NA-28544-EN-N (online)
OP KJ-NA-28544-EN-C (print)
OP KJ-NA-28544-EN-E (ePub)
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC105657
DOI: 10.2760/269508
Type: eBook
Abstract: An urgent call to action Childhood and adolescence are periods of development when establishing healthful diet and lifestyle habits is essential. A look at the current prevalence rates of overweight (approx. 15%) and obesity (approx. 5%) among children and youths in the EU shows an urgent need for improvement. Considering the amount of time that children spend at school, as well as the fact that in many European countries students consume at least one daily main meal there, schools are an ideal environment for supporting healthy behaviours. It is laudable that all EU Member States have school food policies and guidelines in place to define healthy diets and nutritious food offerings. The implementation of such policies through a procurement process for school food that is health-sensitive can have a number of both short- and long-term benefits including improved student health and performance at school, increased societal awareness about the links between food and health, and reduced healthcare costs. It can also help steer the market and create economies of scale and spill-over effects in other sectors or age groups. Harnessing the power of public procurement of food for health At an estimated €82 billion, the European social food service market is sizeable both in reach and sheer force. Progressive and targeted public procurement of food for health can reward food business operators who provide nutritionally balanced meals and food products, prompting innovation, food reformulation and social responsibility to achieve better diets and positively impact public health. In fact, success stories are already visible, for example, with articles about the health benefits of better school food provision via procurement, beginning to emerge in the scientific literature. Another favourable trend is that schools have been quick to apply green public procurement criteria. The same forward-thinking and flexibility should be expected and promoted for public procurement of food for health. Supporting Member States While the EU legal framework offers substantial scope for health-sensitive public procurement of food, authorities face a number of challenges. In schools, a major obstacle is the translation of school food standards into adequate procurement contract language. In order to ensure the smooth implementation of public procurement of food for health, it is important to set clear specifications about the foods and food services to be procured. This technical report meets this need. The specification sheets included in this document are based on the recommendations from the national school food policies mapped in 2014. They include specifications and other considerations for key food groups and nutrients as well as specifications regarding food preparation and the catering service in general. This report provides a strong justification for action and supports Member States in the real-life tasks necessary to effectively translate national school food policies into healthy school food environments. In doing so, it also raises awareness about the importance of promoting healthy diets for the benefit of children and schools, and for health systems and the economy. After all, schools are not just places to learn about mathematics, history, science and languages, but also places where children should be given the opportunity to thrive by developing good eating and lifestyle habits that can last a lifetime.
JRC Directorate:Health, Consumers and Reference Materials

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