Catering Case Study: Menu Focus Group

It’s true that we ‘eat with our eyes’ before tasting our food. It’s also a fact that on average children have around 10,000 tastebuds. It is, therefore, a given that the food offered as part of a nutritionally balanced school lunch needs to be appetising and enjoyable.

To achieve this important goal, SIPS Catering call upon vast resources to develop flavoursome menus. A dedicated ‘Menu Focus Group’ is made up of a committee of catering professionals pooling years of experience (within and outside of education catering) utilising a vast array of recipes to consider menu development and innovation.

Alison Cope, SIPS Senior Area Manager, explains: “SIPS work with many household brands to offer quality ingredients, such as Quorn, so we look for up-and-coming trends, innovative new products and new flavours to include in future cycles, this ensures our menu’s stay fresh and interesting, avoiding ‘food fatigue’.”

Sean Gyles, Field Sales Executive at Quorn Foods, adds: “We value our trusted partnership with SIPS and are only too keen to share the benefits of Quorn with schools and children; in fact, we have held a programme of successful education initiatives with healthy eating and nutrition at the heart of what we do.”

Dawn Taylor, SIPS Operations Manager, explains: “We never forget our VIPs. While parents and carers may pay for the school meal, the child is the consumer, so we make extensive effort to capture their thoughts, what they like and what is a favourite dish. Valued feedback ensures we are producing options that young people enjoy, while ensuring it conforms to the School Food Standards.”

We also consider variations of the standardised menu to ensure we meet the requirements of local communities, including adapting meat offerings to conform to Halal, for example. 

Alison concludes: “We consult widely to ensure a diverse range of options are considered, including the children’s thoughts, building menus that are school friendly, appropriate and nutritious.”

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