The Big Idea 2013: To The Max

Program offers customer choice, while delivering only 550 calories.

Published in FSD Update

Robert Maluso
Director of Culinary Wellness and Sustainability Solutions
Sodexo Corporate Services
Philadelphia

Christine H. Wellington
General Manager (Sodexo)
Campbell Soup Co.
Camden, N.J.

Robert Maluso: We’re trying to come up with some great healthy concepts that educate with food and also draw customers to naturally make better, healthier choices. In the past everything was so focused on the number of calories and fat that you ended up compromising the quality of your meal. So we came up with our To The Max program, which allows the customer to walk up to the station and be confident that no matter the food choices they make, their meal will be 550 calories or less. We developed several different concepts to offer as much variety as possible. We have Greenlight (composed salads), Oodles (noodle bowls), Mexican Bowls, Seasons To The Max (salad bar with make-your-own instructions), Fusion Steamers and Summer Rolls. We’re working on an Italian concept.

We’re mirroring on-trend, authentic ethnic stations in the retail world. For example, if a customer walks up to Oodles, he can choose his broth, noodle, protein and vegetables and it will never be more than 550 calories.

Behind the scenes the station is split into zones for prep. For example, at the salad station the greens are one zone, then you have the protein, vegetables and dressing that each have their own zone. Each one of those zones has a measuring device. So once that container is full, that is it for the item in that zone. Even if the customer chooses the highest calorie items from each of these zones, the meal will still only be 550 calories.

Christine H. Wellington: We had close to 40% of our customers asking for healthy food. We have a made-to-order station where we run the concept for two days at a time. One of the biggest challenges is making sure the staff is properly trained on measuring things out. We had to get the staff to realize that we are telling the customers this is going to 550 calories so we have to measure these things out properly. It’s a fair amount of prep because of all the different concepts. That’s why we run it for two days so we are careful with what we are producing. The program always scores highly. 

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The USDA analyzed the efficacy of using Medicaid data to certify students for free or reduced-price lunch, a provision included in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Participating states and districts reported conflicting data on changes in the percentage of students certified, number of meals served, federal reimbursements and certification costs.

The method is used as an alternative to household applications and data matching with other public benefit programs to streamline the certification of more low-income students. The program was first piloted statewide in Kentucky...

Ideas and Innovation
kids students cafeteria line

While summer feeding programs are commonplace in school districts across the country, foodservice operators still struggle to get the word out and kids in.

Many districts are scaling back or discontinuing their summer feeding programs due to low participation, citing staffing costs and other issues that make it difficult to break even and provide a profitable program.

“We need to find a way to encourage that participation,” Tom Freitas—foodservice director for Traverse City Area Public Schools in Traverse City, Mich.—told Record Eagle News . “We are open to ideas as long as...

Industry News & Opinion

Students and union representatives are petitioning Eastern Michigan University’s plan to outsource its foodservice operations, calling for the school to delay such a move to allow for further discussion with stakeholders, MLive reports .

EMU last week announced a tentative agreement to hand over its residential, catering and retail foodservices to Chartwells, a deal the university’s interim president avered would enable the school to expand and upgrade its eateries while maintaining high food quality, MLive says.

Opponents of the plan say they are concerned about what they...

Sponsored Content
whole grain pasta foodservice menu

From Barilla.

With younger consumers eager to explore new flavors and better-for-you options, whole-grain pasta is winning greater acceptance in American diets.

As more and more college and university students seek out whole grains in their meals, dishes featuring whole grains are on-deck to become menu mainstays.

At the University of Iowa, whole-grain foods have won general acceptance, says Barry Greenberg, executive chef for university dining. Two marketplace dining facilities on campus offer whole-grain pasta as a regular option and incorporate it into baked...

FSD Resources