Schools find prepackaged meals add to breakfast success

Survey finds breakfast-in-the-classroom programs increase participation.

Prepackaged meals are key to breakfast success, according to the 2012 Survey of School Breakfast Programs conducted by the got breakfast Foundation.

The online survey asked foodservice directors representing 1,500 schools with an estimated enrollment of 2.2 million students, questions to assess current trends in school breakfast programs. Results showed that most continue to mix it up by offering cold, hot, grab-and-go, and prepackaged breakfasts to keep the kids coming to breakfast.

Approximately 50% of foodservice directors are "most likely" or "likely" to offer or expand breakfast in alternate sites with prepackaged meals offered at least two times per week. Offering of prepackaged breakfasts increased from "some" to "most" in 2012 with 79% reporting one of these responses; as compared to 72% in a similar survey conducted two years ago.

"Based on the survey results it appears that prepackaged breakfasts are considered a means to increase participation or expand the breakfast program to alternate sites," says got breakfast? Founder Gary Davis. "We have found that it takes four labor hours for every 600 breakfasts of individual components to be assembled and distributed, but it only takes one labor hour to distribute 600 prepackaged breakfasts – and labor savings go to the bottom line!"

For example, Buffalo Public Schools, which serve 20,500 breakfasts daily in 70 schools, have seen an increase of 3,000 breakfasts per day last year and 1,700 per day this year since implementing the breakfast in the classroom program and relying on a mix of hot, cold and prepackaged meals.

"I loved using prepackaged breakfasts especially at start-up, because it was easy for foodservice staff in September to pack a whole unit with 25 breakfasts – easier for kids to take one package and one milk," explained Bridget Wood, food service director for Buffalo Public Schools.

What's in prepackaged meals?  The 2012 Survey reported the following top components to purchase in prepackaged breakfasts:  juice (97%); fruit cups (91%); cereal in a bowl (89%); and, muffins (83%). 

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
star wars storm trooper

My favorite event—because I’m kind of dorky—is our “May the fourth be with you” (aka “Star Wars”) day on May 4. The whole dining team dresses up, and we offer things like Chewbaklava, Boba Fettuccine and BB-8 Buckeyes. We had a guest cry because they got to take a picture with Chewy.

Menu Development
recipe revamp chicken soup

As a continuous care retirement community, The Garlands of Barrington in Illinois provides daily foodservice to 270 independent living and skilled nursing care residents, with the majority of sodium restrictions coming from the latter, says Executive Chef Nicola Torres. Instead of cooking two versions of chicken noodle soup—a favorite offered at least twice a week—he reworked his recipe into a flavorful lower-sodium version that appeals to all. “Everybody eats soup, so I created a homemade stock that uses no salt at all, ramping up the flavor with fresh herbs and plenty of vegetables,...

Ideas and Innovation
tray number

We created lucky tray days to help create an experience surrounding our brand. The trays are numbered; we pick a number and the winner receives a free lunch. We’ve enlisted the help of one of our coaches, who calls out the random lucky winner, and it drums up a lot of excitement.

Managing Your Business
line kings girl goat open kitchen

Open kitchen concepts satisfy guests’ curiosity and desire for transparency. But there are some caveats. Here’s how to create a positive experience for both staff and customers when the walls are down.

Train to serve

With the back-of-house up front, everybody gets hospitality training. “Our cooks understand the food and what they’re doing incredibly, but translating that to guests requires [soft] skills that need to be honed,” says Marie Petulla, co-owner of two restaurants in Southern California.

Dress for a mess

At Girl & The Goat in Chicago, chef-owner Stephanie...

FSD Resources