Operations

Customization, global flavors leading the way in K-12

Customization continues to be a trend that reverberates throughout noncommercial foodservice—and one that’s hitting home in K-12 operations, according to a recent survey conducted by the School Nutrition Association.

Eighty-seven percent of districts that responded to the SNA’s survey said they give students the ability to customize their meals, with 69% offering some type of customizable salad option, and more than half incorporating build-your-own bars in the cafeteria.

Ethnic flavors are on the menu, too, the survey notes, as close to 60% of districts that responded are serving new international dishes this year, with another 26% contemplating the addition of global items.

“From Asian fusion entrees to build-your-own street taco bars, creative recipes and service strategies are getting students excited about eating delicious school lunches that meet nutrition standards,” SNA President Lynn Harvey said in a statement.

In addition, the survey touched upon solutions that districts are employing as they face changing rules for school meals. Of note, 73% of districts that responded said they have revamped recipes to meet sodium requirements, while 61% have leaned into preparing more items from scratch and 33% have cut portion sizes. 

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