Alliance between major districts hopes to create national food standard

L.A., New York, Chicago and Miami among districts fighting for healthier meals..

Jan. 17—A landmark new alliance among Los Angeles Unified and five other major urban school districts are hoping to leverage their vast purchasing power for healthier fare and lower prices.

School districts in L.A., New York, Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Orlando, Fla., plan to announce Thursday efforts to use their collective clout—2.5 million daily meals served and $530 million annually spent—to make wholesome food a national standard. The districts are also aiming for more eco-friendly practices—replacing polystyrene and plasticwith biodegradable trays and flatware, for instance.

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Industry News & Opinion

The University of Maryland will begin offering weekly specials at all of its dining halls this semester, The Diamond Back reports.

The weekday specials will allow Dining Services to offer past menu items that students miss as well as new dishes students have been requesting, according to a spokesperson.

Students can find out which specials are being offered each week via dining hall table tents as well as through Dining Services’ social media. During select weeks, the specials may reflect a particular theme, such as Taste of the South.

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Ideas and Innovation
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Communication is key, and [managers] are busy too. One tip I picked up from another director was to label my subject line with the header “action,” “information” or “response” followed by a brief description of the email contents. That way they can filter through their inboxes during their busy days to know which emails need their attention immediately and which they can save to read later.

Ideas and Innovation
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We like to offer a constantly changing menu. Last year, I started a Pinterest account—not for marketing, but for my team, so that they can look to the recipes for inspiration and try something new. We tried protein cookies based onto a Pinterest recipe, and our residents loved them.

Ideas and Innovation
coal creek student salad bar

When I was visiting Minneapolis Public Schools, I saw that they have these cool signs on top of their salad bars. As soon as we got back, we re-created them. They are big and branded, and have the portion requirements. They say “Taste something new today” on one side, and we support our local farmers on the other. They help the bars look fresh and delish, and attract students’ eyes.

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