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School meals will accelerate the transition to a sustainable food system

Published: 16 November 2020

The entire food system needs restructuring so that we can produce, buy and eat food that is sustainable for both health and the environment. In a unique collaboration, the Swedish Food Agency and Vinnova are now exploring how to design a sustainable system for school meals together with municipalities, businesses and several other authorities.

This web page has been machine translated. If there are any uncertainties, please refer to the Swedish text.

- All sectors of society must join forces to switch to sustainable development. It requires innovation at all levels. In this collaboration, we explore how authorities and municipalities through public demand for sustainable school meals can create conditions for increased innovation within the entire food system and contribute to both new collaboration and increased competitiveness for companies, says Jonas Brändström, head of division Social Development at Vinnova.

Today's food system puts the brakes on achieving national and global sustainability goals. The school meals are connected to all stages in the food chain and reach all children and young people in Sweden. There is good evidence to suggest that meals eaten in preschool and school improve children's eating habits and preferences. In this way, school meals can contribute to a major system change.

- This is a new method for us at the National Food Administration, to experiment with new solutions together with others. At the national level, for example, we may need to screw up curricula or rules for procurement and food handling or develop national objective and strategies to give schools and businesses the conditions to work sustainably, says Ulrika Backlund, project manager at the Swedish Food Agency.

To create sustainable school meals, you need to work with everything from food as part of the teaching and new ways of using school kitchens, to logistics and conditions for food companies and farmers to produce sustainable food that the municipalities demand.

Municipalities become test environments for sustainable school meals

Municipalities are now invited to participate in the project A new recipe for school meals. By January 26, they can apply to become development environments for sustainable school meals. The four municipalities that are selected receive support to be able to work across activities and with innovation around school meals.

The experience from the work can then be used to give all municipalities in Sweden the opportunity, with school meals as a tool, to approach the global sustainability goals Agenda 2030 and the goals in other sustainability and food strategies.


Jenny Sjöblom

Programme manager, sustainable food systems

+46 8 473 31 35

Ulrika Backlund

Project manager "A new recipe for school meals" (Livsmedelsverket)

+46 18 17 55 87

Anna-Karin Quetel

Contact person "A new recipe for school meals" (Livsmedelsverket)

+46 18 17 56 04

Last updated 16 November 2020

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