How healthy is food served at school canteens?

How healthy is food served at school canteens?


Revisiting school canteens

School is a second home to some children. This rings true amidst the implementation of a full-day school and 5-day school policy in Indonesia. Children spend at least six hours a day at school. They need healthy and nutritious food and beverages that support their well-being to be able to perform school activities.

Parents usually prepare lunch boxes for their children, however busy parents will let school take care of their children’ needs for food, one of which through school canteens.

School canteen plays an important role in providing children with nutritious food, while promoting a healthier food consumption. In light of this, Yayasan Lembaga Konsumen Indonesia (The Indonesian Consumers Foundation), Gita Pertiwi Foundation and Perkumpulan Indonesia Berseru conducted an observation in 12 school canteens in Depok and Solo to investigate food procurement practices in school canteens.

The observation was carried out in 6 primary schools (3 public schools and 3 private schools) and 6 junior high schools (3 public schools and 3 private schools).

Types of food available in school canteens

  • Snacks are typical and popular food served in school canteens, both in Depok and Solo

  • Fruits are not students' favourite food in Depok and Solo

  • Complaint about food served at canteens was only stated by students. Yet students did not report it to the school management.

Source of food available in school canteens

  • Some of the food available in school canteens comes from food suppliers in the form of processed food

  • The types of processed food that school canteens receive most are dry snacks and wet snacks

  • However, schools haven’t had food procurement standard and policies to guarantee the safety and nutritional values of food

Towards healthy school canteens

  • Formulate a binding written regulation to develop Healthy Canteen, which clearly states coordination mechanism, canteen operators/managers and fruit & vegetables procurement

  • Promote the regulation to canteen managers and other related stakeholders

  • Improve the capacities of Healthy Canteen team members

  • Canteen manager makes sure Healthy Canteen requirements are in line with existing regulation

  • School management makes rule that all stakeholders must obey

  • Raise students’ awareness on healthy canteen, either directly or through other attractive media

  • Carry out regular training on healthy canteen and assistance by respected government offices.

Healthy Canteens Observation Report

A summarised version in English.