K-12 Census: Making the effort

As the battle over menu regulations wages on, schools continue to combat increased costs and food waste.

Blurred lines

Food trends, higher expectations and food insecurity are changing the face of school lunch today. Here’s how operators see things shifting.

Feeding beyond school hours

Besides breakfast and lunch, what foodservice do you offer?

35% After-school meals

47% Summer feeding

26% *Other

*Common foodservice offerings: Catering, after-school snack, supper

Better-for-you trends on the rise

Which of the following food trends do you expect to increase at your operation in the next two years?

57% Use of locally sourced foods

48% Scratch cooking

48% Gluten-free items

42% Vegetarian items

14% Vegan items

13% Organic items

What has been the biggest challenge?

  • 90% of students choose juice as their required fruit component.
  • Having students actually eat the fruit that is required and not throwing it away.
  • Labor and storage.
  • Sodium and calories.
  • Whole grains and smaller portions. Parents and children often complain the kids don’t get enough to eat.
  • We like to use fresh fruit over canned and are limited because of seasonal growing. Also the cost of fresh over canned commodity makes it a bit of a burden on our program.
  • Cost and waste.
  • Time students have to eat.
  • Offering enough variety to meet the requirements.
  • Getting the students to take the fruit.

More From FoodService Director

Industry News & Opinion

Howard County Public School System in Ellicott City, Md., will be offering free lunch to students for two days during winter break, The Baltimore Sun reports.

This is the first time the district will be providing meals over winter break. The lunch will be served on Dec. 27 and 28 at two sites in the community.

About 22.2% of the district’s students are enrolled for free or reduced-price meals. The district served 66,276 meals last summer during its summer meal program .

Read the full story via baltimoresun.com .

Industry News & Opinion

Cranston School District in Cranston, R.I., has hired a collection agency to help reduce its lunch debt , NBC 10 reports.

The district’s chief operating officer sent a letter to parents saying that the district would be using a collection agency next year to collect outstanding lunch balances after other collection methods have failed. Parents who owe $20 or more and haven’t paid in the last 60 days will receive a letter from the agency starting Jan. 2, 2019.

Cranston accumulated $95,508 in unpaid lunch balances between Sept. 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. The district’s meal...

Ideas and Innovation
hot school lunch

As lunch shaming remains in the national spotlight, many school districts have turned away from providing alternate meals, such as a cheese sandwich, to students who can’t pay for lunch. While this ensures that students are provided a full meal and aren’t stigmatized, it has caused some districts to quickly accumulate lunch debt . In order to keep funds under control, school districts throughout the country are now relying on assistance from their communities to defray the cost of some meals.

1. School lunch fairies

Students at Apollo-Ridge School District in Spring Church, Pa.,...

Industry News & Opinion

When looking for a way to get more use out of its Canyon Cafe, open during the weekends only, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., tried something new: free cooking classes.

Classes are open to students, as well as faculty and staff, and are taught by Campus Dining Executive Chef Michael Albright, according to Mustang News .

The weekday classes, which are capped at 14 participants, have taught attendees how to make items such as probiotic overnight oats and “the perfect turkey.” Interested parties can sign up online via the school’s dining...

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