Schools, hospitals and the future of foodservice

In her regular Foodservice Consultant blog, FCSI UK & Ireland's chair Niccola Boyd-Stevenson discusses NHS food, school meals and the future of foodservice

After the launch of FCSI’s Taste of the Future 2020 report in October and many hot topics being discussed in the press, the past few months have been exciting and very busy for the FCSI.

In my last blog I was looking forward to the results of the Taste of the Future 2020 (TOTF2020) report. At its launch on 15th October, Simon Stenning of Allegra Strategies gave a fantastic presentation on its outcomes and created a tangible picture of the future of the foodservice industry.

Key industry influencing outcomes from the report include; the ageing population, market expectations, sustainability and new cuisine trends. Interviews were conducted with senior executives and consultants within the foodservice market, as well incorporating a younger person’s perspective for varying viewpoints on current food markets and how these may develop.

Just when you thought it can’t get any busier, the report found that caterers will have a lot more work to do by 2020 as consumers will expect more from the market, wanting longer opening hours and more food choices available to them. Not only are new food concepts already moving in different directions, the report highlights the importance of recognising how and why they are changing and what we need to do to deliver it effectively, including the beliefs that in years to come we will be eating crickets and scorpions just like the celebrities in the jungle!

Another topic that has come to my attention is the provision of free school meals for four to seven-year-olds that is to be rolled out on September 2014. I fully support this as a sustainable solution to get children to eat regularly, well and nutritionally. I look forward to seeing cookery lessons reintroduced as compulsory in the school curriculum to help pupils have a more tangible experience with food.  I see this project as a positive change and support the fantastic intentions behind it. However, it was also announced that underprivileged 16-18 year old FE students will be provided with free school meals at the end of next year. Nevertheless, there has been little publicity surrounding this which, unfortunately, makes me question its implementation.

My final thoughts are with the recent publicity on NHS hospital food. It is encouraging to see the government reviewing the service and quality of hospital food, which in my opinion is well overdue. With regards to the FCSI, this is a positive opportunity to work with hospital associations and trusts assisting in the process and following the positive case studies and practices, with the ultimate goal of happier, healthier and fuller patients.

All of these topics are complex and time consuming and we cannot expect to see results immediately, yet it is encouraging that the intention is to see improvement in a year’s time with school and hospital meals being perceived and received in a completely different light.



Niccola Boyd-Stevenson FCSI is UK & Ireland chair of FCSI

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