CNIC: Quick-and-easy changes to the school lunchroom

Jan. 15—At the School Nutrition Association’s Child Nutrition Industry Conference in Orlando, Fla., Dr. Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab, shared some simple tips to increase student purchases of healthy items.

The first tip is to make items visible and appealing. For example, Wansink said to put fruit in a nice bowl in a well-lit area. He says in schools that have done this, purchases of fruits have increased as much as 100%.

The second tip is, because people decide sequentially what to put on their plates, if you put the healthy items at the front of the line, people will select more of those items.

The third tip is to name the items. For example, instead of bean burrito, use big bad bean burrito. Wansink suggested having students help in the naming process because they know what will resonate with other students.

Wansink also gave tips on how to get high school kids into the lunch line, which is often a struggle for foodservice directors. Wansink said if you advertise your daily specials outside of the cafeteria, on a bulletin or white board, all students will be able to see the offerings, which may persuade them to participate in the school lunch program in the future. He also said that, in some cases, forcing the students to walk through the serving area to get to the seating area in the cafeteria increased participation in the meal program.

Wansink urged directors to make changes immediately. “You don’t have to wait for a congressional session to make changes,” he said.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
WinCup foam food containers

From WinCup.

Cost control.

Two little words that are essential to every foodservice director’s day-to-day activities.

Keeping costs in check is paramount in running a functioning food operation, of course. But the ripples of cost control can extend beyond your bottom line. And savvy directors must balance customer satisfaction on the P&L sheet.

Fiscal Responsibility

The foundation of cost control is accepting fiscal responsibility, which requires a solid understanding of foodservice accounting. Prime cost, the combined cost of food and labor, is an...

Industry News & Opinion

Orange County Community College in upstate New York is replacing its dining staff with vending machines , The Times Herald-Record reports.

The staff members, who will be let go in June, include nine full-time and three part-time workers. Students say they will miss the employees and the access to fresh food.

The Orange County Community College Association, which oversees the school’s cafeterias, says the layoffs were partly due to a $150,000 deficit accumulated by foodservice operations last year.

Read the full story via The Times Herald-Record .

Industry News & Opinion

Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, is eliminating paper cups in its Commons dining hall and has given each student a reusable stainless steel mug as a replacement, bates.edu reports.

The mugs were distributed via a promotion earlier this week where students could fill their new mugs with a free smoothie. Stickers and other trinkets were set out for students to use to “bling” their mugs.

Dining services turned to students to determine which type of mug would be offered. The college also installed a mug-washing sink in the dining Commons earlier this year.

Read the...

Industry News & Opinion

Compass has partnered with Jose Andres ’ ThinkFoodGroup, allowing the chef and foodservice vendor to collaborate at such venues as stadiums and college campuses.

“With this partnership, we have the opportunity to tell stories and connect with people through food on an entirely new level,” Andres said in a release.

The three-year team-up comes shortly after Andres opened a ThinkFoodLab pop-up in Washington, D.C., which will serve as a recipe R&D space for his restaurant group.

ThinkFoodGroup was this year named a Power 20 multiconcept operator by Restaurant...

FSD Resources