FSD Culinary Council

Culinary Council: How to cut costs without cutting quality


How are you saving on food costs without sacrificing quality?

Answers from FSD's Culinary Council

We are piggybacking a bid this year for our frozen, dry and refrigerated foods to make it 2 percent lower than our pricing from last year. To do this, contact your current distributors to see if they already have a bid out that your district can use since, as we discovered, your distributor may not have offered the best available option. We also talked with similarly sized and slightly larger districts, as another way to find out what distributors may not want you to know. When we discovered there was better pricing available, I asked our distributors if they had any other bids we could look at. Once our distributors knew we were shopping around, they each came back and offered a lower piggyback than our current pricing.

Vince Scimone
Director, Child Nurtition and Warehouse
Grossmont Union High School District
El Cajon, Calif.

Portion size is the easiest way for us [to save] without sacrificing quality. Cutting back just a few ounces overall on a recipe can make a big difference, especially when protein amounts are reduced. Blending proteins with other ingredients to increase yield is another way. Also, try adding one to two ounces of potatoes or mushrooms to every pound of protein. This works best when making ground meat recipes for tacos, for example.

Dewey McMurrey
Executive Chef, Operations
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, Texas

We purchase as much local food as possible. By menuing fresh produce only when in season, we are able to dramatically lower the cost of those particular items while still ensuring the service of high quality, fresh produce. We also freeze locally sourced items so we can save during the winter.  

Kevin Frank
District Chef
Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition



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