Chartwells K12’s new plant-forward concept, Veg Out, will debut at schools across the nation, including Comal ISD, MSD of Warren Township and South Whidbey School District.
Chartwells is launching the concept in response to student demand for plant-forward options. The food management company surveyed school-aged children and found that one in three students rated vegetarian or vegan options as extremely or very important in choosing lunch at school. Additionally, 37% of students surveyed said they would eat school lunch more often if there were more vegetarian and vegan choices, according to a statement.
"Whether students are committed to eating plant-based at every meal or are just beginning to enjoy more fruits and vegetables on their plate, we're providing options for individual tastes across all ages," said Belinda Oakley, CEO of Chartwells K12, in a statement, "With Veg Out, we're ensuring that kids who are vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, or plant-centric can always find what they're looking for on our cafeteria menus."
To develop the menu, Chartwells K12 partnered with the CIA Healthy Kids Collaborative to create more than 120 vegan or vegetarian options. The menu includes a watermelon poke bowl, tofu huevos rancheros and a sweet potato and spinach vindaloo.
"With Gen Z students, it's all about eating better for the planet, so we are introducing even more vegetarian and vegan options with familiar foods that appeal to all ages," said chef Peter Gilhooly, vice president of culinary at Chartwells K12, in a statement, "With Veg Out, students will love the variety of fresh, plant-forward entrees we've created, like a sun butter and banana quesadilla and butternut squash mac n' cheese."