Marketing a healthy canteen

Good marketing can help make your healthy school canteen financially sustainable.  Marketing is about getting the right products in the right place, making them favourably priced and using the right promotional opportunities.

Group of kids with fruit slushies


Product = Everyday food and drinks (at least ¾ of items on the menu)

Things to consider about your product:

  • Do all items look appealing? Presentation, attention to colour, aroma, flavour, temperature and texture.
  • Are items attractively packaged and displayed?
  • Are sandwiches and wraps in clear packaging/wrapping so fillings can be seen?
  • Do you use enticing descriptions and names for menu categories and food on the menu? (e.g. Lean Mean Beef Burger, or Fresh Fruit Cups). Use names appropriate to student ages.
  • Are healthy food and drinks easy to eat?  For example, is fruit cut into bite-sized pieces and placed into easy to eat cups? Are vegetables cut into sticks and served with a healthy Everyday dip? Are Everyday sandwiches packaged to help active students eat healthy food on the go?
  • Are you involving the school community in menu development? For example, do you ask students what they like and want in their canteen?
  • Do you have a core menu that changes only from time to time (e.g. winter/summer) plus healthy weekly, or daily or weekly specials that add variety and interest?


Display Everyday food at the front of displays at eye level in fridges, on shelves or on the countertop. Only Everyday items should be sold at the “point of sale”(that is, next to cash registers or where money is exchanged).

Things to consider about place:

  • Are the Everyday foods most visible? Can students see mostly Everyday items when they’re at the counter?
  • Is the menu clearly displayed?
  • Are Everyday foods displayed at eye level?
  • Are Everyday drinks displayed at eye level in the fridge?
  • Is water easily available?
  • Are Everyday foods displayed next to the cash registers to encourage purchase?
  • Is the canteen a good place to be? Is it attractive, friendly and engaging?

Price favourably

Include only Everyday items in meal deals or specials.

  • Are your prices appropriate for parents and students?
  • Does your menu offer good value? Are foods priced similarly to foods outside school?
  • Is Everyday food favourably priced compared with Occasional food to make it more attractive to purchase?
  • Do you offer Everyday food specials and meal deals?


Promote Everyday food and drinks in advertising and via commercial branding on signage and displays.

Things to consider about promotion:

  • Are only Everyday foods advertised?
  • Do you have visible and attractive point-of-sale advertising such as posters and noticeboards for Everyday food and drinks?
  • Do you plan ahead and identify special days or theme days that promote healthy Everyday food choices? For example, items with milk, yoghurt or cheese for Healthy Bones Week,  fruits and vegetable specials for Fruit and Veg Month; or themed specials for the athletics or swimming carnivals (e.g. The Triple Jump Meal Deal or The Bolt Burger)?
  • Do you use language, terms, symbols, images and icons that appeal to your audience?
  • Does your canteen have engaging names, logos and branding that are consistent through all school communications?
  • Do you use descriptive words for Everyday food and drinks, like 'delicious', 'luscious' or 'scrumptious' to make them more appealing?
  • Could you involve the school community in making artwork and advertising for Everyday food and drinks specials?
  • Could you keep the school community informed about the menu through newsletters and the school website?

Healthy Everyday meal deal and combo tips

Meal deals are a great way to offer value for money, promote a variety of healthy Everyday food and drinks, and they can also encourage students to try new things.

Healthy Everyday meal deals

  • Vegetable soup + wholemeal roll.
  • Chicken and salad sandwich + fruit pieces.
  • Sushi roll + 99% fruit and vegetable juice.
  • Lean beef burger + water.
  • Veggie pizza (freshly made on site) + water with a twist of lemon (no sugar or sweetener).
  • Cheese and tomato toastie + fruit pieces + water.
  • Chickpea curry and rice + 99% fruit juice.
  • Tofu and vegetable stir fry with noodles + fruit pieces.

Healthy Everyday snack combos

  • Un-iced fruit bun + mandarin.
  • Unsalted chickpea snack + plain air-popped popcorn.
  • Yoghurt + muesli.
  • Cheese + wholegrain crackers.
  • Fruit salad + plain yoghurt.


See an example of a healthy canteen layout (PDF)

Find out how to get more greens into your Everyday menu (PDF)

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