“Without instantly recognised the scale and severity of the challenge, and their work has been critical in bringing the brand to life. We’re excited for the difference this work will make across the country.”

James Mundy, Marketing Director for Schools & Universities UK, Sodexo


School food is in crisis. Between 2014 and 2020 uptake of free school meals in secondary schools fell by 5.7%, while 2022 saw a 50% increase in the cost of ingredients. This has serious consequences: kids skip school meals because of unappealing food and long queues, impacting academic performance, physical development and mental health, and increasing food waste.


Images of poor quality school food, from various suppliers, went viral in the early 2020s


AiP is a school caterer based in the Midlands. Despite a passionate local team and strong relationships with local schools, the company was struggling to differentiate from competitors and win new business. In a market where pricing is effectively standardised, AiP approached us to create a revised brand that would differentiate, secure contracts, encourage student uptake, and revitalise their team.

Our first step was to speak to the people that really mattered: the students. School food has traditionally been a conversation between suppliers and governing boards. This is reflected in brands and behaviour, with formulaic, ‘brown’ food (chips, pizza, sausages) marketed by stock imagery of kids in fields picking blueberries. To bring students back into the lunch hall, we needed to create an offer and brand that spoke their language.


Starting with the food, our research showed that students were suspicious of ‘hidden ingredients’ in one-tray dishes like curries and stews. Not only did this reduce trust and willingness to experiment, it increased food waste. We encouraged a simple, ‘brilliant basics’ approach: good quality proteins, supplemented with customisable sides that allowed students to personalise dishes according to taste, allergies or belief.


Development of the stickers and modular logo system for The Kitcheners.


This ‘modular’ approach became the brand’s philosophy, inspiring everything from the name, to visual identity and tone of voice. Typography was chosen to be hard-to-ignore and easy-to-digest, helping students make decisions ahead of time and reducing queues and congestion.

The Kitcheneers is about collaboration – between students, teachers, parents, chefs and suppliers – leading to something simple, friendly, and customisable.


Behind the scene of the meals photoshoot, inspired by the student’s favourite highstreet brands, alongside stickers and sustainable packaging for meals on-the-go.


At every touchpoint from B2B sales through to the student dining experience, the Kitcheneers uses the language of the highstreet, where brands make life simple; taking their mission seriously, but not themselves. The Kitcheneers brings a confident tone into typically generic dining halls, with new messaging led by student interests, like flavour, and sustainable ingredients.


A digital app design with highstreet-quality UI helps students (and their parents) engage with the menu and make choices in advance.