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Marketing Award: Shire Services

9th Apr 2024 - 11:29

Shire Services is passionate about the children they feed. They wanted to improve their marketing value for schools, to ensure that they can support the school’s wider approach to education and increase income, to offset the recent cost of living crisis.

Facing these challenges head on is key to ensuring that Shire Services remain competitive, high achieving and demonstrate best practice to their clients. The new marketing strategy for primary schools is based on the extensive knowledge and experience that they have within the education catering sector.

In total there are 21 initiatives that primary schools can use to increase engagement and ultimately increase income, reducing the requirement for a subsidised catering service within their schools. There was increased take up of meal income within schools by as much as 19% when they fully engaged with the marketing planner.

In September 2023 with the support of several schools, Shire Services started to operate curriculum cooking clubs. Every child within the academic year will receive at least one cooking session, which is pitched at the age of the pupils.

Starting from rolling out pastry for jam tarts, to cooking jerk chicken with vegetable rice for year six children. Each child receives a recipe card relevant from their session, which they take home to cook with their parent.

Holding curriculum cooking clubs has helped increase meal uptake, as a by-product. The pupils are building up relationships with the cook on site, which is giving them more confidence in coming up to the counter and talking to them.

A Wolverhampton head teacher commented: “Most importantly, our children enjoy the cooking sessions immensely. Whenever our cook asks our pupils if they have enjoyed their curriculum cooking the answer is always a resounding: yes chef!”

In April 2023 Sammy the sweetcorn cob mascot was fully grown and let out to visit schools, to shine a bright light on topics such as healthy eating and growing clubs. Sammy has become a huge hit when visiting schools, which is what Shire Services wanted to achieve to highlight school meals and make lunchtime fun and engaging for the children.

Shire Services has developed a gardening club initiative to educate children about the origins of potatoes, how to plant potatoes, how to take care of them whilst they are growing and then weigh them on harvest day. This incorporates, curriculum subjects such as science, maths and geography.

Word of mouth supporting the schools has helped Shire Services gain an additional new contract for their added value initiatives and improve their reputation in the local area. Engaging with parents has helped schools to reach parents who might not normally engage in their child’s education.

Parents are invited into dine with their child at lunchtime. This is to show the quality of food that their child enjoys every day, in the hope that it will increase the uptake of the universal free school meal and free school meal entitled pupils. 

PSC Alliance