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School meals – Finland’s experience

Education and know-how

More than 70 years of school meals – The Finnish model in a nutshell

In Finland, free-of-charge school meals have been provided since the 1940s, with the aim of supporting children’s learning, nutrition, and health. This two pager, based on School Meals for All (PDF), a publication by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Finnish National Agency for Education, offers some basic information on Finland’s model for school meals. 

Finland’s model for school meals supports equal opportunities and education for all and educates children in healthy diets while improving their learning capabilities. Additionally, school meals support gender equality and make it easier for parents to work outside home. School meals provide an opportunity to source local products and promote local food culture.

Throughout the system, cooperation and trust between the authorities, municipalities and schools create the basis for a successful school meal scheme. School meals cover 30% of pupils’ daily need of energy and account for 6% of costs of comprehensive school education.

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Edited: 16.6.2020