Project overview

SMP PLUS (formerly known as PLUS School Menus) is the first global school menu creation platform. Available online and completely free to use, it allows for meal optimization using  artificial intelligence (A.I.), creating more affordable, nutritious and local meals. It also provides users with options for menu management and integration of communities into the menu design process.

A training session on the SMP PLUS platform. Photo: WFP/Dismerda Ramirez

The problem

School feeding programmes provide over 380 million children with food in school, leading to improved education, health, and nutrition outcomes as well as long-lasting gains in human capital. However, 73 million children around the world in extreme poverty do not receive school feeding programmes.

Over 40 billion USD are invested yearly into school feeding programmes worldwide. The vast majority of these funds go into food purchases, which are defined by school menus.

Menu creation is a major factor that determines not only the costs, but also the quality of the meal, and the economic impact of the programme in the local economy. Traditional menu creation often relies on manual processes that struggle to balance all these elements and may take up to several weeks.

388 million
Children receive school feeding worldwide
>40 billion USD
Yearly investment
school feeding budget
Up to 90%
Of school feeding national budgets go to food purchases
school meals
73 million
Children in need of school meals
The solution

The School Menu Planner (SMP) PLUS is an easy-to-use, online menu creation platform that uses artificial intelligence to create cost-efficient, nutritious, and local menus, all in just a few minutes.

Up to 15%
Cost savings in multi-million school meals programme
Up to 60%
Increase in smallholder farmers procured food
Up to 50%
Nutritional content
2.9+ Million
Children enjoy SMP PLUS meals
Countries adopted or in adoption process

PLUS is accessible online and free to use for Governments and partners. PLUS users undergo two to four hours of online training before authorisation of use

PLUS is accessible online and free to use for Governments and partners. PLUS users undergo two to four hours of online training before authorisation of use


The multiple benefits of PLUS learning from some country experiences
The Multiple Benefits of PLUS Learning from country experiences

Angola - Advocacy/programme design

The government envisioned and piloted the new Home-Grown School Feeding (HGSF) programme. PLUS created an optimal base menu thus allowing the estimation of a budget for piloting and future scale-up, ensuring a balance between programme costs, menu quality, and sourcing.

Bhutan - Local food systems 

PLUS helps quantify the monthly requirement of vegetables, fruits, and livestock products in schools. It enhances sourcing from smallholder farmers by 60 percent. PLUS creates advance demand for farmers for up to a year which helps farmers in production planning. The tool has facilitated a 15 percent reduction in cost reduction. It provides a menu that provides milk to students at least once a week. Additionally, PLUS triggered the piloting of new crops in the communities, such as Asparagus, Kale, and Kiwi.

Mozambique – Nutrition

Nutritional content in the previous menu was below standards—an increased budget allowed for a more nutritious menu. PLUS calculations increased the nutritional value of school menus by 50 percent.

The Dominican Republic - Menu design management

The Dominican Republic has a well-established School Feeding programme with a long list of menus. PLUS reduced processing time for adjustments and nutritional calculations by 86 per cent.

Sri Lanka - Cost reduction/increased coverage

In the context of a deep budgetary crisis and a country default, national expenditure was severely affected, threatening the continuity of Government programmes, including school meals. New menus were developed, reducing costs by 14 per cent and similar nutritional value. Thanks to this menu, it is estimated that the programme could keep 250,000 children who would have otherwise been excluded.





Last updated: 04/05/2023