Tag Archives: salad bars

Hot Topics and Products in the School Foodservice Industry

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.

Local

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.

Salad Bars in Schools

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.

Meatless Monday

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:

What are some of the hot topics your school has been following this year?

10 Back to School Products and Ideas for School Cafeterias

The beginning of the school year is the best time to go over standards and policies.  It’s also the time to make sure all the right tools are available to make every day a successful one.

Here are 10 products and ideas from Central to help get your cafeteria started right for the upcoming school year.

1. Food safety is critical.  All cafeteria employees should go over proper food and hand washing techniques at the beginning of the year, followed by periodic refresher meetings and posted signage.  Also, when wearing gloves, upon stepping away from a workstation, or moving on to another task (even if just for a second), dispose of the gloves immediately and put on a new pair when returning.

2. There are trays designed for a quick turnaround.  Melamine compartment trays dry the quickest and are an excellent choice for schools with a quick turnaround. Click on any of the following for more information: #17K-046, #17K-047, #17K-051 and #17K-052.

3. Planning menus in advance, and making them easy to access, helps everyone.  Can students and parents easily access your menus?  If they are only sent home with students, don’t forget about the ones who lose things easily or forget to take things home. Consider posting menus online and also having menu boards in the cafeteria. This way, everyone stays informed.

4. Cold food/salad bars are a great way to make fruits and vegetables available for children and promote healthy eating habits.  These types of food bars are really making their way into schools.  Even one of Michelle Obama’s initiatives of “Let’s Move!” includes the campaign for “Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.”  The Carlisle Six-Star food bar or Cambro Versa Bars are great choices that come in a youth height for easy access.

5. Create a rewards program to help teach students healthy eating habits.  Make sure the program doesn’t reward with more food—especially junk food.  Work with other members of the school to create incentives to eat healthier such as free time or fun activities.

6. Learning doesn’t have to stop during lunch time.  On top of promoting healthy eating habits, use meal times to inform students of your school’s green initiatives and get them involved. This can set them up to be environmentally conscious in their every day life.

7. Food allergies are very serious.  All workers should be prepared in the event of an emergency, even if you don’t have any students to your knowledge with allergies.  A student’s life can depend on it. In last week’s resources blog, we found excellent information about food allergies from the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, including this Food Action Plan.

8. When shopping, there are warranties exclusive to schools.  Keep your eye out for these. Some brands that have these special warranties are Garland, Vulcan, APW Wyott, Cres Cor, Duke and Univex. (At Central, we mention ours in our school catalogs. Feel free to contact a Product Consultant for help).

9. Keep cereal fresh.  For breakfast programs, cereal dispensers keep food fresh, save space and control portion sizes.

10. Dispose of the disposables. For flatware, both the Windsor and Dominion medium weights are great options for schools as well as our Central Exclusive Tumblers. Also, while you may not always think of ice as a disposable, have you ever considered reusable ice? It saves money and you will never have to deal with the mess regular ice can bring. Check out mat #647-001 or singles #647-002.  And if you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, the Jackson CREW44 conveyor dishwasher is one of the top picks for schools.

Don’t forget to check out last week’s resources blog to keep informed going into the school year. Also, check out our February blog “Top 10 Ways Central Can Help Your Cafeteria Go Green” if you’re looking to make your school cafeteria more eco-friendly.  Don’t forget to share your favorite products and ideas below.

Thanks to Central’s Category Managers Laura Bedillion and Elizabeth Price for providing great product suggestions.

Central Supports Michelle Obama’s Initiative to Put Salad Bars in Schools

Salad bars have been the buzz in school foodservice news lately, with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.  This stems from First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative.

Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools’ vision is simple—increase the amount of salad bars in schools enabling all children the choice of fruits and vegetables at school.

The goal of this initiative anticipates the funding and granting of 6000 salad bars to schools over the next three years.  Their goal is to raise $15,000,000 and so far, they’ve raised $1,416,586 and have granted 552 salad bars.

Why salad bars? There are many reasons.  In an article by the Houston Press, they stated the results of a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 which concluded only one percent of adolescents ate the correct serving of fruit and vegetables recommended by the then-current 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  (Check out their website for the latest update from 2010).

#250-167

These numbers are astounding. We’ve found many other similar statistics for previous blog posts with similar results—all stemming down to the core issue that children aren’t meeting the nutritional standards they need.

The National Fruit & Vegetable Alliance, The Lunchbox, United Fresh and Whole Foods have all got on board with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools campaign.

Whole Foods has had their own similar campaign called the Salad Bar Project.  They have since announced themselves as a founding partner with the Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools Campaign.

In early February, Whole Foods announced they would award grants for over 500 free salad bars.  A PR Newswire release said Whole Foods, through the Salad Bar Project, had an original goal to raise $750,000.  With shopper’s donations, they exceeded expectations and raised $1.4 million in September 2010.

Schools receiving the donations will get a salad bar kit, which includes a five-well Cambro® salad bar that also includes utensils, pan inserts, chilling pads and training tools. These tools can also be found on The Lunch Box’s website.

Schools who would like to receive a salad bar through Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools can apply here, and those who would like to add to the cause and make a donation can do so by clicking the “Donate to a School” link on the homepage—which will direct you through which school or district you would like to help.

Also, if you’re a school with the funding and are searching for ways to make your school healthier, a salad bar is the way to go.  Central has a variety options and accessories to make this possible for your foodservice application.  Browse the website, look in our catalog or contact a Product Consultant at 800-222-5107 with any questions you may have about salad bars.