2007 Portability Study: Portability on the menu

Portability continues to be a big part of most foodservice operators’ business, according to the 2007 FoodService Director Study on Portability.

However, portability can enhance other types of promotions, particularly where wellness is concerned. For example, at Benjamin Hays High School in Atlanta, a program called “Walk It Out Wednesday” encourages students to use half of their lunch period for physical activity. Students who sign up for the program are given preferential treatment in the cafeteria line and are encouraged to take healthful items such as pre-packaged salads that can be eaten quickly.

At Magee Women’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, portability helped Sodexho meet a hospital goal that at least 16% of the hospital cafeteria’s items be wellness oriented. So Foodservice Director Greg Brown created Mezza Luna, a station that offers half-portions of foods that can be combined to make a healthful meal that easily can be taken away. Combos include one-half a personal pizza and a small salad, and a half-sandwich combined with a cup of carrot or celery sticks.

When it comes to building business, packaging and merchandising continue to be the primary building blocks, with more than 50% of operators saying they are looking to buy new kinds of packaging materials to enhance portability and maintain food safety. More than 47% of respondents say they plan to improve the way they display their grab-and-go merchandise, while 42% indicated they plan to set up dedicated stations for take-away items.

However, when it comes to packaging portable foods, cost and durability still trump environmental concerns. The most popular forms of packaging continue to be plastic clamshells (62%), plastic salad bowls with clear lids (60%), other types of plastic containers (59%) and foam containers (57%). Almost no one in the survey indicated they were using biodegradable containers, and cost is very likely the reason. Operators with whom FSD editors have spoken say that they would like to see the cost of such environmentally sound packages come down before they make the investment.

One institution that has begun to make biodegradable packaging available is Stanford University. Because students are asking for it, and because the university has a composting program, biodegradable containers are being used in some campus foodservice facilities. But the cost is being borne by the customers themselves; where “green” serviceware—including take-away containers—are offered, customers pay a 15-cent premium for choosing to protect the environment. About one-third of the patrons who can, opt for the costlier containers.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources