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%). 

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