Stakeholder generated ideas for alternative school food provision models in Australia using the nominal group technique

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Good nutrition is important for children’s learning, growth, and development, yet food intake during school hours does not align with recommendations. In Australia, most school children currently bring a packed lunch from home, but what if there was a different way? This project aimed to engage a diverse range of stakeholders to (1) generate, refine and prioritize ideas for novel models of food provision to Australian children within school hours, and (2) to determine and rank the potential barriers and facilitators to changing the school food provision system. This study used nominal group technique virtual workshops—three idea generation workshops (n = 21 participants) and one consensus workshop (n = 11 participants). School lunch prepared onsite was the top ranked food provision model option based on impact and achievability. Potential barriers (n = 26) and facilitators (n = 28) to changing the school food system were generated. The top ranked barrier and facilitator related to government support. This study highlights that there is an opportunity to explore partnerships and utilize existing skills and infrastructure to introduce a universal school-provided lunch model in Australia. The next steps should focus on building the business case capturing the social value of investing in school lunches, including considering parent-paid and subsidized options.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7935
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


  • Children
  • Consensus process
  • Food service
  • Lunch box
  • Nominal group technique
  • Nutrition
  • Nutrition promotion
  • School food
  • School lunches
  • School meals


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