Finnish Free School Meals are a central part of the food culture

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In the beginning of the 20th century Finland developed an incredible social innovation: free school meals. Many of our other national success stories have been made possible thanks to our education and school meal system. Our goal is to make the world’s best school meals even better and help others in their work.


It all began in 1943

Finland was the first country in the world to serve free school meals. During a time of war and poverty, an ambitious law was decreed in 1943 demanding a free school meal to be served to all school children. In the beginning, the first foods offered were mainly soups, porridges and thin porridge-type dishes. Gradually, school meals became more varied and developed into the present system. Today, food education in schools is a holistic pedagogic tool which extends far beyond the school lunch.

Travel through the history of school meals in Helsinki:

Read more on Finnish school meals.
Have a peek at our food education in schools.
See what a Finnish school meal looks like.

ELO Foundation’s School Meal Network 

The ELO Foundation’s Finnish School Meal Network is a powerful coalition of professionals, supporters and visionaries covering all aspects of the internationally praised phenomenon known as the Finnish free school meal system. The basis for this co­-operation is an open and inspiring sharing of knowledge, experiences and practices and their application to one’s own activity. Together we are purposefully heading towards a shared goal: making the world’s best school meals even better.

Members include ELO Foundation, the Finnish National Board of Education, The Society of Finnish Gastronomers, The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, University of Helsinki, Finnish kitchen professionals, Finnish Home Economics Teachers’ AssociationFinnish Food Information, Haaga-Perho, Savonia University of Applied Sciences, Dairy Nutrition CouncilFinnish School Meal Databank -blogEdutaru Oy, Fazer Food Services, Continental Foods Finland,  and Metsä Tissue (Saga).

The Finnish school meal system has created so much good for us; we also want to share our knowledge, ambition and ideas that inspire us!

Read more about Good News on School Meals Facebook page.

The Future of Finnish School Meals

The work surrounding school meals needs constant care and updating. Such excellent work must be made visible in order to ensure resources and a rise in appreciation. The ELO Foundation originates as well as supports activities which make school meals even better, and that help children grow into adults who appreciate proper food and good culinary moments.

One good example is our School Meal Day concept: pupils and parents get to voice their visions and meet school meal professionals in person – and have a good time!

Have a taste of the Finnish School Meal Day (Kouluruokapäivä):


Food Revolution in Oulunkylä, Helsinki 15.5.2015

The Finnish School Meal Network presents the world’s best know-how under the slogan “Food Revolution Day, Every Day!”.

In Finland, food education is a central element of each school day. At Oulunkylä primary school, people are eating together and making video greetings in English, presenting Finnish school meals and educational know-how.

In Finland we have Food Revolution Day every day!

The Finnish School Meal Diploma on Food Revolution Day 15.5

Read more about Food Revolution Day in Finland 15.5.2015.

For more information, please contact:

Bettina Lindfors
Executive Director
+358 400 460894

Sini Garam
Project Manager
+358 50 5870929

ELO – Foundation for the Promotion of Finnish Food Culture
Työpajankatu 2, rakennus 1 F
00580 Helsinki

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