Schools to benefit from new nutritional data system

16/09/2009 - 00:00
TOSHIBA TEC has partnered with MH Systems and HPort to provide a solution that will give a complete analysis of nutritional data for each pupil based on their daily purchases in the school restaurant.

The integrated catering system will initially be installed in 44 secondary schools in Essex, allowing the schools to manage menu planning in-line with Government nutritional standards which have been introduced this month.
The software aims to educate the organisation about diet and the combinations of food that create a balanced eating plan. Pupils also have the opportunity to develop their own 'eat well plate' and can leave feedback via surveys and questionnaires about the menu options and food choices within their school.
Other innovative features include the options to share recipes and menus with other schools, seasonal analysis and the opportunity to create and print recipe cards detailing exact ingredient quantities and preparation methods, ensuring that recipes are made to the same standard every time. Recent Government figures show that by the time children reached secondary school, 32.6% of them are either overweight or obese, a figure that has risen by almost one percentage point in a year.
In order to combat this trend, the UK Government has introduced a number of measures in schools. One of which is the guidelines for nutritional standards in menu planning which was first introduced into primary schools in 2008. The guidelines cover 14 specific nutritional values and items such as number of daily portions of fruit and vegetables.
From September 2009 these standards will be extended to cover all secondary schools with the aim that by 2011, all schools should be able to provide detailed reports on pupils' choices; the results of which will be included in OFSTED reports.
Sheila Verrall, catering manager of Philip Morant School, said: "We were very proactive in our approach, as we needed to ensure that we had plenty of time to implement and test the system in order to be ready for the 2009 guidelines,"
"We chose The HPort software due to its ability to link to Chips on the Toshiba ST-A10 tills, providing us with a totally integrated and easy to manage catering solution, with the added benefit of a 'cash-less' environment and by standardising the system it also enabled us to link to the Local Authorities (Essex Food Services) Team."

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