Sodexo partners with Cornell's Smarter Lunchrooms movement

Program promotes student health and achievement at school districts.

March 21—Through a partnership with the Smarter Lunch Movement, Sodexo is hoping to change student behaviors around food and beverage choices. By working together, Sodexo and the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement will use simple behavior-change techniques to improve student health and achievement.

The Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, a program developed by the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, is a an effort to equip school lunchrooms with simple and little-to-no-cost tools that will improve child eating behaviors and thus improve the health of children. Sodexo will begin using basic principles associated with behavioral economics to emphasize healthier dining options in school lunchrooms. Techniques include positioning healthier options in service lines to make them more visible; creating attractive displays to further showcase healthier food and beverage options and coming up with creative names to make healthier choices more appealing.

The Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs' research revealed that promoting foods in accordance to the Smarter Lunchroom Movement suggestions can increase sales of fruit by 102%, increase selection of vegetables from 40% to 70%, increase percentage of white-milk sales and increase the number of students making healthier menu choices overall. Sodexo is looking to replicate those results in the districts the company serves.

"We find that students know more about good nutrition than ever before, but that knowledge doesn't always translate directly to cafeteria choices," Steve Dunmore, president of Sodexo Education-Schools, said in press release. "Sometimes students need a little nudge to point them in the right direction and our work with the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement is aimed to do just that."