A healthy and environmentally friendly school menu – Aosta, Italy

Key Insights

  • Introducing a healthy and environmentally friendly school menu
  • Reducing meat consumption by introducing plant-based alternatives
  • Accommodating children with dietary needs


The school canteen menu of Aosta, Italy, heavily featured animal-based protein and processed foods. This resulted in an unfavourable ranking in a study scoring school canteens in Italy. As a result, the project Écouveulla was created in 2021, with the aim to transform the school canteens. The objective of this project is to incorporate sustainable practices in the procurement of healthy produce and it’s preparation, and to reduce meat consumption. The project primarily focusses on meals for school children aged three to ten and included the education and inclusion of teachers, carers and parents. The City of Aosta provides free training to those joining the scheme.

Food Action Cities. (2023, October 1). A healthy and environmentally friendly school menu – Aosta, Italy, Food Action Cities. https://foodactioncities.org/case-studies/a-healthy-and-environmentally-friendly-school-menu–aosta-italy

Photo: by Leonardo Pires through https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ and  https://libguides.wintec.ac.nz/APA7/creative-commons-images

The City of Aosta, Italy is part of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact. 

Photo: by Leonardo Pires through https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ and https://libguides.wintec.ac.nz/APA7/creative-commons-images
Photo: by Leonardo Pires through https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ and https://libguides.wintec.ac.nz/APA7/creative-commons-images

The action and its aims

The overarching objective of the project, Écouveulla, is to incorporate and acknowledge environmental criteria in the sourcing and preparation of school meals, before renewing the call for tenders, thus making the children’s meals healthier. The aim is to implement a nutritious school canteen menu which promoted healthy eating habits, including reducing the consumption of red meat and heavily processed meals. Instead, the focus is on incorporating vegetables and pulses, and minimising the use of foods high in salt and sugar. The goal is to offer a diverse range of sustainably sourced meals that are inclusive and cater to the dietary and religious needs of all students.

When it was introduced

This project was introduced in 2021.

Why it was needed

The school menu in Aosta heavily featured red and white meat, with only limited inclusion of legumes and vegetables, favouring processed foods detrimental to both youth health and the environment. A study by the independent observatory FoodInsider regarding the quality of school canteens in Italy place Aosta in 42nd place, which instigated the project to improve the health of the children.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The project, Écouveulla, was initiated by the City of Aosta with the support of the University of Valle d’Aosta. It is part of an educational programme that incorporates the importance of a sustainable culture within food. Teachers and canteen staff are provided training and parents are included as they have a crucial role in teaching children healthy behaviour.  

Impacts to date

After implementing the Ecouveulla programme, meat consumption in their school menus saw a remarkable 70% reduction. According to a 2022 survey, the city of Aosta has significantly improved its ranking in provision of healthy school meals, moving from a 42nd place to an impressive 14th place in 2022. An important improvement was the creation of specialised diets to include children with a coeliac diet and 140 children with religious dietary needs were accommodated.

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Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

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