Over the past few months, there has been a lot of news on how school cafeterias are improving and becoming healthier environments for students. So what’s the latest? From going local to the top foodservice products, here are five hot topics in the school foodservice industry.
Many schools across the country are choosing to buy local and/or grow their own food. This helps students learn the importance of eating healthy and teaches them a thing or two on what it can do for a community. Based on a Feb. 2 press release, Chartwells School Dining Services said in 2011, they purchased $3.17 million in local food and worked with schools and farms all across the country. Another benefit is the chance to introduce students to new items. Schools in Snohomish County in Washington told HeraldNet they’ve served students “snap peas, mandarin oranges, jicima sticks, plutos and roasted Brussel sprouts.”
Healthier Vending Machines
Many schools have been providing healthier foods outside of the cafeteria in areas such as vending machines and are filling them with fruit, yogurt, vegetables, etc. But we may soon see legislation to put healthier items in vending machines and less junk food—perhaps even putting a ban on certain items. According to a recent New York Times article, no details have been released.
One of the branches of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign is Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. The goal of this campaign is to increase the number of salad bars in schools and help students make healthier choices. To date, according to the Let’s Move! Salad Bars to Schools website, they’ve raised just over $3 million and have granted over 1,154 salad bars—with a goal to raise $15 million.
Earlier this week, we covered how restaurants were providing meatless options on Fridays for Lent. Friday’s aren’t the only days some people go meatless. There’s another campaign that’s been around for a long time that schools have jumped on board with called “Meatless Mondays.” Wondering how to get your school involved? Check out one of their lesson plans.
Most Popular Purchased Items
Schools are one of Central’s primary customers. So what are some of the most purchased items from schools lately? Here’s a list provided by Product Consultant, Andrew Kemp:
- Sunkist Slicers
- Compartment Trays
- Convection Ovens
- Combi Ovens
- Hot Food Tables
- Steamtable Pans
- Sheet Pans
- Food Storage Containers
- Serving Utensils (dishers, spatulas, tongs, etc.)
What are some of the hot topics your school has been following this year?