The state of K-12 foodservice: Operational obstacles

Despite challenges, scratch cooking and sustainability goals remain a priority for many.
Illustration: FSD staff

Though some noncommercial operators put sustainability efforts on the back burner during the pandemic, waste reduction efforts are still going strong at many school districts. Here are some ways teams are making sure every bit of food gets used:

We’re getting a meal count first thing in the morning to see how many students are seated for the day. That way we aren't preparing for students that are quarantined.”

Debbie Parrish
Food Service Director
Crocker R-II Schools
Crocker, Miss.

“We have charities who are available to pick up leftovers, usable food and meals to avoid food being thrown out.”

Susan Roberson
Food Service Director
Richmond City Public Schools
Richmond, Va.

“Meals that aren't served are broken down to reuse what we can. We’re keeping a rotating menu to not have to order in so many different items.”

Tammy White
Director of Nutrition Services
San Jacinto Unified School District
San Jacinto, Calif.

“We often reuse leftovers, either to serve as an additional option the following day, or we package them up to use in the meals sent with virtual learners.”

Renee Wiggington
Food Service Director
White River Valley School District
Switz City, Ind.

Sticking with scratch-made 

Over two-thirds of FSD survey respondents (76%) say they are still serving scratch-made meals during the pandemic. For those not offering scratch-made options, time constraints, staff shortages, the back-and-forth between remote and in-person learning, and concerns around maintaining holding temperatures are all reasons why they say they’re serving mostly pre-packaged meals for now.

See the full results of FSD's second annual survey on the state of K-12 foodservice.



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