“Our school cafeteria” is a nationwide public health nutrition initiative of the Federal Ministry of Health to improve the food offered in Austrian school cafeterias. The long-term objectives of the initiative are the sustainable optimization of the food offered in school cafeterias in accordance with the “Guideline for School Cafeteria”, the promotion of client satisfaction and the maintenance of economic efficiency.
Evaluation of the initiative
The aim of the evaluation was to continuously monitor the quality of the measures rolled-out during the phases of planning and implementation as well as to monitor the overall efficacy of the initiative. The methodical approach was based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods.
During the evaluation period 273 school cafeterias participated in the initiative and nearly 200.000 students were able to benefit from the improved offer of food. The evaluation of the initiative showed that the optimization of the food offered in the cafeterias was well accepted by the students and that it resulted in a larger variety and a better visual positioning of healthy food. The majority of the participating cafeteria companies welcomed the initiative as well as the supporting measures (e.g. free of charge on-site coaching, marketing material, website www.unserschulbuffet.at). Cafeteria owners agreed that the initiative lead to an improvement of consumer satisfaction without negatively impacting economic efficiency. The supporting of cafeteria owners using standardized yet individually adjusted on-site coaching was identified to be the key success factor.
The initiative “Our school cafeteria” contributed to a significant improvement of the food offered in Austrian school cafeterias.