School canteens: Parma and Fano are leaders in quality when it comes to menu proposals

Parma and Fano are the leading locations in Italy in the proposal of school menus. Black jersey instead in Reggio Calabria and Alessandria. The top list emerges with the ranking of the 7th rating of school menus published by Foodinsider. In the map of the most virtuous cities, Cremona, Rimini and Jesi stand out in the list of the top five, after Parma and Fano. The report, referring to the 2021/22 school year, records that overall at least 42% of the menus improve, while the data on meal consumption worsens if 47% of the teachers who responded to the survey (last year it was 38%) declare that children eat less than half of the meal. The canteen with the transported meal produces more waste but in addition to the poor quality there is also a human factor and the children’s trust in food which produces waste.

The role of the Municipalities

Foodinsider points out in particular that the data obtained from the study could improve if the Municipalities applied the Minimum Environmental Criteria (Cam), which among the various provisions ask to calculate and monitor food surpluses, submit satisfaction questionnaires to users and initiate corrective measures, for example varying the recipes of the menus that should not be appreciated. In fact, the list of critical issues found and common to many Italian school canteens includes a lack of food variety, monotonous diets, an excess of red meat, the frequent presence of processed and ultra-processed food (ham, sticks, tuna, industrial desserts, cheese spreadable). The variety and type of fish offered is also critical.

The menus improve, but the gap widens

«The menus are improving – comments Claudia Paltrinieri of Foodinsider – but the gap between the best and the worst is increasing». The top spots in the standings are no accident, she says. «Parma is located in the cradle of the Food Valley, Fano is known throughout the world as “the city of children” and Cremona is the city where the first Italian school canteen was born». Where, on the other hand, the canteen does not belong to the food and school tradition of a territory, it is difficult to find a quality menu. “Calabria – says Paltrinieri – is one of the 5 regions where school catering is a service for the few with a percentage of pupils ranging from 20 to 37 percent maximum”.

Report to Mattarella and Meloni

From this year, the report will be sent to the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and to the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, announces Foodinsider, underlining that with more than 2 million meals a day, public school community canteens “must become an important element for Italy”. Finally, among the examples that of Sesto Fiorentino, in ninth place, pioneer in the application of Cams, in the type of canteen that feeds the community, which is achieved by connecting the food offered at school with local products that are converted into sustainable crops to respond to the health needs of children and the environment. A concrete example of how school catering can become “a good deal” for all the players in the community: children, municipalities, families and entrepreneurs.

School canteens: Parma and Fano are leaders in quality when it comes to menu proposals