Districts making healthy strides but need equipment

Eighty-eight percent of districts need at least one new piece of equipment to serve nutritious foods, according to new study.

Published in FSD Update

Much has changed in school foodservice since the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010. Many districts are making great strides to menu healthier meals, but the majority of those districts say they need some help to better enable them to serve better-for-you options to students.

Eighty-six percent of schools are serving healthy meals that meet the new meal pattern requirements as specified by the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, according to a new study released by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

But in order to help them serve these healthier meals, districts need some assistance, the study found. Eighty-eight% say they need at least one piece of kitchen equipment and 55% need infrastructure changes, such as electrical upgrades.

“Districts have made great strides, but there are still some challenges,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the project, on a conference call with media. Donze Black said the project was done to assess the readiness of districts to implement the new meal pattern regulations.

Other nationwide study highlights include:

  • The five most-needed pieces of equipment cost less than $2,000
  • Storage and equipment for fruits and vegetables is the No. 1 need
  • Districts need an average of $37,000 per school to purchase needed equipment

Read data by state:

Click next to view states in order


More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
regions hospital exterior

One of our new concepts, YumMarket, is a play off our YumPower brand that we have out in the community. We use YumPower in K-12 schools, and there’s a kiosk in a nearby minor league ballpark. We feature only better-for-you choices, such as fresh-made pizzas, sandwiches and healthy grain salads. We want people to know we are taking care of people here the same way we are in the overall community.

Ideas and Innovation
herb garden wall

In high-volume operations, few look at herb gardens as the end-all-be-all budgeting solution. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a return on the investment. The value, operators say, is in the message herb gardens and herb walls send—that an operation uses ingredients that are fresh, sustainable and healthy. Here’s how the growing areas have paid off at three operations.

A cafeteria wall at Miles River Middle School in South Hamilton, Mass., houses three rows of hydroponic lettuce spearheaded by an interdisciplinary group of health, science, math, technology and foodservice employees...
Managing Your Business
restaurant uniforms illustration

The standard foodservice uniform has undergone a makeover. Whether to make the job more appealing or extend personality to the guest, restaurants are allowing workers to express their individuality through what they wear, from T-shirts to bandannas to hipster-style aprons. Even in more conservative operations, staff can show their personality through uniforms, now offered in a wide range of colors, fits and styles. In choosing uniforms, operators also are weighing the message their workers’ wear sends, be it one of culinary skill and expertise, or a sense of camaraderie with the community...

Ideas and Innovation
rooster illustration

Sustainability is such a priority for Santa Rosa Junior College’s culinary arts program that produce often doesn’t even hit the cooler before becoming a meal. Students quickly transform the bounty of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and more, harvested from the college’s own farm, into restaurant-quality dishes at the Culinary Cafe and Bakery. They learn the basics of agriculture, practice pivoting a menu based on seasonality, and compost as they cook.

It’s little wonder the program recently placed first in the CAFE/Kendall College Green Awards: This Northern California community...

FSD Resources