The growing popularity of a Grab & Go lunch service
A Grab & Go lunch service is a convenient and efficient way for students to grab a quick and healthy meal during their busy school day. The growing popularity of the Grab & Go lunch service in UK schools has been highlighted by the recent launch of dedicated Grab & Go awards by ASSIST FM in Scotland and the Local Authority Caterers Association (LACA) south of the border. This UK-wide industry recognition shows that a Grab & Go lunch service is growing in popularity for various reasons.
One of the main reasons for its growth is the convenience factor. With Grab & Go, students can quickly grab a pre-made meal and go on their way without waiting in long lines or sitting down to eat. This allows them more time to socialise, focus on their studies and attend extracurricular activities such as lunch clubs.
The variety of fresh and nutritious options offered by Grab & Go lunch service
Another reason for its growth is the emphasis on healthy eating. Many Grab & Go lunch options include a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, which students can order in advance from their mobile phone via a pre-ordering app. It is estimated that over 80,000 pupils in the UK are utilising an app to order their favourite school meals each week.
Flexibility and choice
The service also allows students greater flexibility and choice and can cater to different dietary needs and preferences. This is particularly helpful for students with food allergies or who follow special diets.
Sustainability: savings for schools and parents
In addition, a Grab & Go lunch service can be more cost-effective for schools to implement. Feedback from schools highlights how a Grab & Go service reduces food wastage in production and what is left by students at the end of service. After implementing a Grab & Go service with the introduction of the Fusion Online pre-order app across their secondary schools, the Facilities Manager at West Lothian Council stated: "The ability to pre-order benefits our catering service as it limits production to only what is ordered and has reduced our food waste considerably."
Technology and Pre-Ordering: How technology can enhance the Grab & Go experience
Technology is playing an increasingly important role in the implementation of a Grab & Go lunch service in UK schools. One way that technology can help is by using pre-ordering apps, such as Fusion Online. These apps allow students to place their lunch orders in advance, which can help schools better plan and prepare for the number of meals needed each day.
Pre-ordering apps can be accessed through students' smartphones or tablets, allowing them to place their orders from anywhere at any time. This eliminates the need for students to wait in long lines.
"I can foresee a stepped change in pre-order becoming the most popular way of obtaining meals. Children now want a Grab & Go service to avoid queuing."
- Jamie Fisher, Facilities Manager at West Lothian Council
By utilising technology and pre-ordering apps, schools can make the Grab & Go lunch service more efficient, convenient, and personalised for each student.
Recognition and Awards
Industry organisations have also recognised the popularity of a Grab & Go lunch service in UK schools. In 2020, Public Sector Catering announced the Fusion Online pre-order app as the winner of their Innovation Award dedicated to school catering. This year, ASSIST FM and LACA launched their dedicated Grab & Go awards. These awards aim to recognise and celebrate the best Grab & Go lunch services in schools across the UK.
The awards will focus on several key areas, including the quality of the food, the level of service provided, the use of technology, and the overall customer experience. This highlights the growing importance of a Grab & Go lunch service in UK schools and the efforts to improve and innovate this service.
Here's how your school can get involved
Winning an award, or even being nominated for one, is an excellent recognition of the school staff and providers' hard work and dedication. It can also be a great way to showcase the school's achievements and promote the service within the local community.
LACA Grab & Go Challenge
Assist FM High School Grab & Go Award