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Procurement of nutritious food in public institutions


Work Package 7

Oftentimes, the biggest obstacle to having a healthy diet is the absence of high-quality food, especially in public institutions such as schools, kindergartens, hospitals, etc.

This part of the project aims to contribute to the higher quality of menus in public institutions within the EU in the long term, by assuring the transparent quality of the procured foods.

Our vision

As children spend considerable time at school, improving the quality of menus will result in better food choices and increased healthy life years. 

Our goals

  • to support the establishment of an intersectoral working group in the participating Member States;
  • to increase the overall understanding, knowledge and skills regarding public procurement of food/food products in selected public institutions;
  • to enable more choice of quality foodstuffs for balanced menus in selected public institutions; and
  • to recommend further institutionalised implementation of the public procurement procedures for quality foods across EU states.

Do you know what should be on your child's table at school?

European countries have different eating traditions, however all can be adopted to the requirement of being healthy. This booklet illustrates the many colourful ways European countries promote health with nutritious and tasty school meals.

FoodServiceEurope also developed a Model School Food Standard for contracting authorities and contract catering operators involved in the provision of food in schools in the EU. With the help of this guidance the quality of food in schools can be improved and children can learn and maintain healthy dietary practices. 

What types of food should be on your child's table at school?

It is of utmost importance for parents and schools to know what types of food and in what amount is needed to keep our children healthy. FoodServiceEurope developed a Model School Food Standard for contracting authorities and contract catering operators involved in the provision of food in schools in the EU. With the help of this guidance, the quality of food in schools can be improved. 

School canteens should aim to provide our children local food in great diversity. Producing and consuming locally is seen as a way to achieve fairer remunerations for farmers and higher quality local food products. The European situation is far from ideal in this regard. 

In this Special Report about Short Food Supply Chains you can read articles about the difficulties and possibilities to improve the availability of these local and organic products also on your child’s table at school. 

School canteens should aim to provide our children local food in great diversity. Producing and consuming locally is seen as a way to achieve fairer remunerations for farmers and higher quality local food products. The European situation is far from ideal in this regard. You can read in this Special Report on Short Food Supply Chains articles about the difficulties and possibilities to improve the availability of these local and organic products also on your child’s table at school. 

Why act?

Our knowledge-base

The WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative (or COSI) is a unique system that for over 10 years has measured trends in overweight and obesity among primary school-aged children. Their latest factsheet is available here.

A study of the OECD analyses the burden of obesity and overweight in 52 countries, showing how overweight reduces life expectancy, increases healthcare costs, decreases workers’ productivity and lowers GDP. You can read the key messages, or download the full report.

 

Debates over food provided for children at schools have recently taken place all around Europe. In this context, it is worth taking a look at solutions regarding school meals provision in different countries. Eurydice Network prepared a report on school meals in Europe based on data from 2015. Get more insight by downloading the study from here

School-based interventions can reach large groups of children of all social classes, and messages learned may be taken home to impact behaviours in the family and elsewhere. A policy toolkit gives ideas on how to increase the daily consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. Read more about these ideas here.

A discussion paper from EPHA discusses the potential of public food procurement to leverage a sustainable food systems transition, and explores how the EU can contribute to advance national and local strategic public food procurement policies. Read more about their proposals here.

Public procurement is a powerful policy tool for the promotion of healthier food choices. A study argues that it can further incentivize food reformulation and encourage those involved in the procurement process to consider health alongside economic, social and environmental aspects. Read more here.

The EU launched an Action Plan on Childhood Obesity in February 2014. The overarching goal of this action plan is to contribute to halting the rise in overweight and obesity in children and young people by 2020. You can download the document from here.

Public authorities by using their purchasing power to choose goods and services with lower impacts on the environment can make an important contribution to sustainable consumption and production. A brochure of the European Commission collecting some of the most interesting examples from the Member States on green public procurement can be downloaded here.

The European Commission adopted the Farm to Fork Strategy, aiming to support a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food system. Read more about this initiative here.

A recent publication of WHO intended for use by government policymakers provides an overview of how to develop (or strengthen), implement, assess compliance with, and evaluate, the effectiveness of healthy public food procurement and service policy. You can get more insight here.

WHO established the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity to review, build upon and address gaps in existing mandates and strategies to prevent infants, children and adolescents from developing obesity. A recent implementation plan has been published to take forward its recommendations. Read more here.

What will Best-ReMaP do?

Analyse existing EU and national legislation

Existing EU and national legislation related to public procurements of foods will be analysed, and recommendations  will be formulated for possible improvements to achieve a higher quality menu in public institutions. The work will be based on the Report of the Maltese Presidency and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and on good practices in the involved Member States (Report D7.1 is foreseen in April 2021    

Organise knowledge transfer training(s)

Knowledge building, knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer workshops and trainings will be provided in the EU Member States to share good practices in food procurement. Training materials will also be developed and shared. (Report D7.2 is foreseen in July 2022)

Compile a pilot catalogue of foods

Overview of the available tools in the participating Member States will be prepared, with recommendations for the development of a joint pilot English-language Catalogue for selected food groups, with the possible adaptation of the available tools. (Report D7.3 is foreseen in May 2023)

Propose an EU harmonised Framework for Action

The successfully developed and implemented pilot protocol for the implementation of public procurement of foods in public settings will be consolidated in an EU Framework for action for public procurements of foods in public settings. This Framework for Action will provide guidance for policy implementation measures across the EU Member States and will allow for regular updating following the end of this Joint Action. (Report D7.4 is foreseen in September 2023)

What will Best-ReMaP do?

Analyse existing EU and national legislation

Existing EU and national legislation related to public procurements of foods will be analysed, and recommendations  will be formulated for possible improvements to achieve higher quality menu in public institutions. The work will be based on the Report of the Maltese Presidency and the Joint Research Centre (JRC) and on good practices in the involved Member States (Report D7.1 is foreseen in April 2021    

Organise knowledge transfer training(s)

Knowledge building, knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer workshops and trainings will be provided in EU Member States to share good practices in food procurement. Training materials will also be developed and shared. (Report D7.2 is foreseen in July 2022)

Compile a pilot catalogue of foods

Overview of the available tools in the participating Member States will be prepared, with recommendations for the development of a joint pilot English-language Catalogue for selected food groups, with possible adaptation of the available tools. (Report D7.3 is foreseen in May 2023)

Propose an EU harmonised Framework for Action

 The successfully developed and implemented pilot protocol for the implementation of public procurement of foods in public settings will be consolidated in a EU Framework for action for public procurements of foods in public settings. This Framework for Action will provide guidance for policy implementation measures across the EU Member States and will allow for regular updating following the end of this Joint Action. (Report D7.4 is foreseen in September 2023)

What is our starting point?

A study of the Joint Research Centre of the EU, the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission and the Maltese EU Presidency on the public procurement of foods in school settings collects good examples and obstacles experienced from across Europe. 

Best-ReMap starts its analysis from here and develops recommendations to further improve the menu in public institutions.

A good practice to build on

The European Commission and the Joint Research Centre collect good practices of Member States from different health policy areas, to give an example for others to build on their interventions. 

Slovenia introduced valuable solutions in the area of public procurement of food which are a basis of our work in this EU Joint Action as well. 

The European context

Food public procurement relates to both the purchasing of (raw) food and the contracting out of catering services fully or in parts by public bodies. It applies to different settings and venues such as schools, hospitals, care homes, armed forces, prisons, governmental buildings.

Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement in its Title III, chapter I covers the particulars of social and other specific services, including school catering and canteen services.

What is our starting point?

A study of the Joint Research Centre of the EU, the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission and the Maltese EU Presidency on the public procurement of foods in school settings collects good examples and obstacles experienced from across Europe. 

Best-ReMap starts its analysis from here and develops recommendations to further improve the menu in public institutions.

A good practice to build on

The European Commission and the Joint Research Centre collect good practices of Member States from different health policy areas, to give an example for others to build on their interventions. 

Slovenia introduced valuable solutions in the area of public procurement of food which is a basis of our work in this EU Joint Action as well. 

The European context

Food public procurement relates to both the purchasing of (raw) food and the contracting out of catering services fully or in parts by public bodies. It applies to different settings and venues such as schools, hospitals, care homes, armed forces, prisons, governmental buildings.

Directive 2014/24/EU on public procurement in its Title III, chapter I covers the particulars of social and other specific services, including school catering and canteen services.

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