What You Need To Know: November 2013

This month: all-beef burgers are booted in Fairfax schools, guacamole and chips are a hit at Northwestern University, Metz's Live Well program adds whole grains into its concept and more.

Published in FSD Update

> Metz’s Live Well program goes “grain”y

Metz Culinary Management, based in Dallas, Pa., has expanded the depth of its Live Well nutrition program by introducing a whole-grains initiative into the concept. The initiative, which includes recipes and point-of-sale materials, was rolled out in Metz’s corporate, university and healthcare accounts, with an expansion into the K-12 market planned for later this year.

Ryan McNulty, director of culinary development, says the foodservice management firm partnered with one of its vendors to introduce new products and create recipes around those items. The goal was to make the nutrition program stronger for vegetarians and vegans.

The items include wild rice, bulgur, quinoa, wheat berries, kamut, sprouted brown rice and an orzo blend. McNulty and his team came up with a number of recipes for dishes like composed salads and breakfast parfaits.

“We even came up with a quesadilla that has all the traditional ingredients, but we add about one cup of quinoa spread around the quesadilla,” McNulty says.

The recipes were sent out to unit managers with this note: “Whole grains are a wonderful answer to the nutritional puzzle posed by a vegetarian or vegan diet. They have amazing nutritional profiles, and they also provide a hearty base for entrées, soups, salads, parfaits and desserts.”

“We offered [operators] recipes,” McNulty adds, “but we also told them to treat the grains like a blank canvas and use them as they would any regular rice or pasta.”

He notes that customer feedback thus far has been positive, but he cautioned that he has “a lot more work to do” to make the program stronger and to prepare it for the K-12 market.

> 15,655

The number of orders of guacamole and chips that were ordered in the first year of operation of Fontera Fresco on the campus of Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill. The Rick Bayless concept is the only such location on a college campus. Students can customize their guac with toppings including toasted pepitas, spicy roasted peppers, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes. The location also offers tacos, tortas, quesadillas and tamales. Like other Bayless dining locations, Northwestern’s concept purchases much of its produce, cheese and proteins from sources located within 100 miles of campus. 

> All-beef burgers booted in Fairfax Schools

Last year Fairfax County Public Schools, in Virginia, eliminated its 27-ingredient hamburger in favor of an all-beef product. The problem: Students didn’t like the 100% beef burger. Penny McConnell, the district’s food and nutritional service director, said students didn’t like the look or taste of the all-natural burger, according to The Washington Post. Now a 26-ingredient burger has replaced the all-beef version. “Students are our customers and we listen to them and implement their requests if possible,” McConnell said. 

> 3.1 million

The reduction during a seven-week trial period in the amount of M&Ms consumed by Google’s New York office after the candy was put in opaque containers. Healthier snacks like dried fruits and nuts were displayed in glass jars. The tech company was hoping to effect healthier snacking patters for its 2,000 employees in the Big Apple.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

The Virginia Department of Health said it has traced a “cluster” of hepatitis A cases to frozen Egyptian strawberries used by Virginia units of a smoothie chain.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe voluntarily trashed the strawberries and switched to supplies from a different source immediately after being notified of the connection, the health department said in a statement issued Friday.

The department noted that it had traced earlier outbreaks of hepatitis A to strawberries imported from Egypt. But it warned that supplies may still be in the freezers of other foodservice operations...

Managing Your Business
business man smash computer

Foodservice directors spend a lot of time taking care of other people, whether it’s K-12 students who aren’t always eating enough at home, malnourished patients back for return visits or employees squabbling among themselves. That kind of pressure can weigh heavily—and come home from work. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America finds that 83% of men and 72% of women say stress at work carries over into their personal lives, and 50% call staff management their main culprit for workplace stress.

“Stress is very difficult in our world, and work-life balance is very much a...

Industry News & Opinion

Students at an Arkansas high school may have to take creative measures to get a meal, thanks to a school policy that prevents parents from dropping off lunches left at home.

The Catholic High School for Boys in Little Rock, Ark., last week posted a picture on Facebook of a sign that reads, “Stop. If you are dropping off your son’s forgotten lunch, books, homework, equipment, etc., please turn around and exit the building. Your son will learn to problem-solve in your absence.”

While social media opinions on the school’s rule were mixed, some commenters expressed concern that...

Industry News & Opinion

Novato Unified School District in Novato, Calif., has created a new vegetarian grab-and-go item as part of the district’s Meatless Monday initiative, marinij.com reports .

The Fiesta Rice and Bean Shaker, which is served in disposable cups, contains rice, corn, black beans, taco seasoning, corn tortilla chips and romaine lettuce topped with an optional salsa and ranch dressing. It’s also customizable, as students are able to select which ingredients they’d like to include.

The vegetarian shaker is made using produce from a nearby organic garden. Sofie Garcia, an employee in...

FSD Resources