Did you know that all our daycare centres and schools have the diplomas?
The School Lunch Diploma
In Finland, all pupils have the right to eat a wholesome lunch at school every day for free. Finnish schools have served lunch for 70 years. The purpose of the school lunch is to keep children healthy and support their growth. School lunch is also an essential part of teaching and education.
The School Lunch Diploma is an award granted to schools for providing nutritionally, educationally, and ecologically sustainable school lunches. The diploma certifies the school’s commitment to the national standards and recommendations set for high-quality school lunches. It also tells of great collaboration.
The goals of the School Lunch Diploma include raising the appreciation of school lunches and the professionals behind them, increasing awareness of lunch-related issues within the school community, and integrating it with teaching. The project is coordinated by Ammattikeittiöosaajat ry, the Finnish association of food service professionals.
Flavour Alphabet Diploma
The Flavour Alphabet Diploma is an award granted to kindergartens for providing nutritionally, educationally, ecologically sustainable and delicious meals at kindergartens.
Finnish kindergartens may apply for the Flavour Alphabet Diploma by answering a questionnaire with 45 questions. These questions measure the various aspects related to the meals served at the kindergarten, including the eating arrangements, food and etiquette education, nutrition, and environment.
The goal is to encourage the kindergarten staff, food service personnel and parents to work together on issues related to kindergarten meals and food education, and to improve them. The kindergarten staff and food service personnel apply for the diploma together.
Voimia has a long tradition of food juries. Almost all our customer groups have their own jury to evaluate both familiar dishes already on the menu and new dishes developed by our food development team. Based on these evaluations, we add on the menu new dishes that have been approved by the juries, adjust existing dishes to better meet the tastes of our customers and make other necessary adjustments. The food juries ensure that the dishes we serve satisfy the flavour preferences and other wishes of our various customer segments.
Students at all points in their education have an opportunity to evaluate and help develop new lunch options by participating in the work of food juries for basic education, vocational colleges and upper secondary schools. The juries of children and young people include members from the Children’s Parliament of Tampere and the Youth Council. The jury convenes in the lunch room of the school or educational institute and together we taste and evaluate usually three new dishes during one session. Food juries are important both to us and our customers but also great fun!
The food jury for daycare centres meets up at a selected daycare centre in cooperation with that daycare centre’s staff. If the jury is testing, for example, savoury snacks, the jury meets up at snack time. The jury members were tremendously helpful, for example, in summer 2018, when we started to reduce the amount of sugar added to snacks. Reducing the amount of sugar by one third was unanimously approved by the food jury.
The members of food juries at community centres for the elderly are mentally active people who appreciate traditional home cooking. This doesn’t mean that they are unwilling to try new things. Loyal customers are invited to join the food juries, which also often provide opportunities for interesting conversations about food traditions in different parts of Finland.
Voting for your favourite dishes
We carry out an annual customer satisfaction survey to ask our customers about their favourite dishes. This poll guides our menu planning process. Pirkanmaan Voimia serves tens of thousands of customers every day, so it is a challenge for us to please all customers equally: matters of taste and what makes for a favourite dish are always subjective.
In addition to trying to serve the favourite dishes of our many customer segments throughout the year, we also organise various polls that enable our customers to name their favourite dishes. For example, schoolchildren have used their vote to secure themselves a tortilla lunch for their last school week and their favourite soup for the day of Children’s Rights. In daycare centres, children can vote their favourite meals from photos on our website.
Polls are popular and information about their results is shared in all lunch rooms at schools and with all daycare groups. The idea of the polls is also to support dietary education and provoke discussions about food and eating in general.