Priced to sell


Students are always keen to get a good deal and value for money. Not surprisingly it plays a big role in what they buy.

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Check out these top tips to tailor the prices of healthy GREEN foods and drinks to boost sales in your school canteen.

Offering discounts can help you increase sales of healthier foods and drinks, trial the popularity of new items, or quickly reduce excess stock and waste at the end of the week.

  • Make sure to advertise the saving, for example ‘Now only $2 – save $1.50!’ or ‘Special price today only!’
  • Use a dedicated ‘specials’ board which students always know to look for.
  • Consider introducing a rotating weekly special, featuring a range of healthy meals from across your menu.

Meal deals

Packaging main meals, snacks and drinks into a discounted ‘meal deal’ is a great way to promote everyday items and sell more products at once.

  • Encourage sales by pricing the meal deals slightly cheaper than if each item was bought individually.
  • Give the meal deal a catchy name, using colourful and fun titles.
  • E.g. ‘$4 Winter warmer’ (soup, warm roll and reduced fat flavoured milk).
  • Offer a couple of meal deals to suit different appetites and budgets.
  • Loyalty cards, for example ‘10th meal deal free’.
  • You can include a non-food ‘gift’ like stickers, hair clips, bracelets, or sport cards.

Offer incentives

Promote your healthy options by using rewards and other added benefits to promote sales.

  • Stamp cards are a great incentive for students to regularly purchase healthier menu items. E.g. ‘Buy 5 GREEN snacks and receive 50% off your next GREEN snack’, or ‘Buy 3 GREEN hot meals and go into the weekly draw to win a movie ticket’.

Offer affordable healthy items

Offer a selection of low cost, filling, nutritious items which students can spend their small change on.

  • For example ‘Cheap eats under $2’, or bite-sized items for 5c each.
  • Ideas could include: English muffins or fruit toast with a thin spread, a cluster of dried fruit and nuts, corn cobs with sweet chilli sauce, or frozen fruit like grapes, watermelon wedges, bananas and orange segments.

For more ideas see Small and cheap healthy snacks.

Offer value for money

  • Make sure your GREEN healthy items are consistently served in similar sizes, and that they provide value for money. This will ensure students feel satisfied with their purchase and will be more likely to select the item again.
  • Make serving sizes of GREEN items larger than AMBER items to encourage people to purchase the GREEN options.
  • Follow recipes and use the same serving procedures and utensils each time to ensure you’re achieving consistency.
  • Consistent serve sizes will also help with menu planning and food ordering to reduce wastage and save money.

Subsidise prices

Encourage the sale of GREEN foods and drinks by reducing their price, while slightly increasing the price of less healthy (AMBER) items.

For example lower the price of water by 10 cents and increase the price of other drinks such as 100% juice by 10 cents.

Competitive pricing

Maintain your competitive edge against nearby shops by pricing your items similarly.

This will allow parents and students to rely on the school food service to provide their preferred items at a similar cost to those bought at a store, or prepared in the home.

For example, if a carton of 125ml reduced fat milk sells for $1.50 in the local milk bar, sell it at a similar price in the school food service.

For more information please phone 1300 22 52 88 or email

Except where otherwise indicated, the images in this document show models and illustrative settings only, and do not necessarily depict actual services, facilities or recipients of services. This document may contain images of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In this document, ‘Aboriginal’ refers to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ‘Indigenous’ or ‘Koori/Koorie’ is retained when part of the title of a report, program or quotation. Copyright © State of Victoria 2016

Written and reviewed by dietitians and nutritionists at Nutrition Australia, with support from the Victorian Government.

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