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Glasgow serves up a 'vital mix'

(Photograph) - LUNCHTIME on Tuesday at Knightswood secondary in Glasgow which is claiming an astonishing success story in the war against unhealthy eating.

The school has introduced an innovative school meals programme which has cut queueing and tempted young eaters with the "street cred" of high street brands.

The result has been a 324 per cent rise in cash income, a 150 per cent increase in the uptake of meals and a 50 per cent decrease in queuing times. A pilot in two secondaries has notched a 35 per cent reduction in chip sales, a 5 per cent rise in milk sales and a 50 per cent increase in the consumption of sandwiches and baguettes. A quarter more pupils are eating fruit.

Known as "vital mix", the scheme uses a computer programme linked to a cashless system which rewards pupils for choosing a balanced diet. Points are given for healthy items reinforced by bonus points where a balanced meal is taken. The bonus points are then converted to pay for activities such as swimming and climbing.

The experiment has caused a stir in the school catering world, so much so that representatives from 84 local authorities across the UK attended a presentation at the city's Lourdes secondary yesterday (Thursday). Photograph: Gerry McCann.

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