Procurement Strategies Supporting Menu Choice

Procurement Strategies Supporting Menu Choice

Procurement Strategies Supporting Menu Choice

One of the processes of procurement is the buying of food items to plan meals, within budget and to meet the expectation of your menu. Procurement of food can range from fresh foods to chilled or frozen to ready prepared meals to component ingredients which can be assembled into meals.

Menu planning is the process of deciding how many choices of food will be offered throughout the day hence procurement and menu planning support each other. It is the type of procurement strategies around food production which will determine how many choices can be offered on a menu.

Provide Choice

Providing food choice is important when planning menus for aged care as it allows residents to be engaged with meal services. It has been shown through studies that residents will eat more food when they can choose what they want to eat and the amount of food to be eaten leading to less food wastage and increased resident satisfaction with meal services.  We all like to have power over what we eat. We make daily decisions about our food choices and the same is true of residents who enter an aged care home. We all have food likes and dislikes that make up our food preferences which are built over a lifetime and it is through these processes that we choose the food that we eat. Our choice of food is also influenced by how the meal is presented – the colour combination on the plate and how it appeals to our eyes. Often we can change our minds about foods just by how they are presented.

Engage Residents

Engaging residents during the meal service can be done in a couple of ways – either by asking them directly or providing a meal delivery system where residents can help themselves.

  • Self-serve meal systems includes the use or trolleys or buffet carts so that residents can see the selections
  • The use of stationary buffet food bars or setting food choices down onto a table where residents can help themselves

Engaging residents in the meal process is essential for processes from planning the types of meals cooked on menus to communicating the menu composition in dining rooms.

Using Technology

The use of technology can help to prepare meals to meet menu expectations.

For meals that need to meet cultural or religious requirements – the use of ready-made meals or utilising production strategies such as cook-chill or cook-frozen allow extra meals to be produced and held to be used on another menu day.

Another example of how technology can be taken advantage of in menu planning -sauces, soups and gravies can also be prepared and stored as smaller portions ready to be used to support meal planning, food preferences and food intolerances/allergens.

Utilising a range of procurement strategies not only to benchmark and obtain better food costs but also to enable productions to be flexible which will meet the growing expectation of what resident have when it comes to menus and meal services.

Dr Karen Abbey

Foodservice  Dietitian (APD) PhD

Church Resources Foodservice Ambassador


Dr. Karen Abbey will be running a FREE nutrition webinar course for CR Members starting November. The course will start November 7th and the first module will be repeated December 6th. The course continues into 2018 as part of our commitment to provide our Members with the very best in foodservice and nutrition. For the full course schedule and to sign up click the button below:


Church Resources Excellence in Foodservice Community Program provides procurement solutions and has access to a wide range of manufacturing partners and their resources. To become part of this program and to subscribe to  CR Foodservices newsletter click below:



To find out more about Dr Karen Abbey click here.

To find out more about Dr. Karen Abbey click here

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