Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

JUN 2019

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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JUNE 2019 FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES 77 Greenville County Schools in Greenville, S.C., reects much of what school foodservice has become. The 44th-largest K-12 district in the coun- try maintains fully equipped kitchens that produce 80,000 chef-driven meals a day for its 76,500 students at 106 schools and centers. "Our program has evolved from a typical K-12 school foodservice program that served highly processed products to one that scratch cooks the vast majority of our meals," says Joe Urban, the district's director of food and nutrition services. "The major shift started with the 2010-2011 school year, and it took us about four years to transition the entire district." Greenville County Schools' program has eliminated all processed proteins and replaced them with mini- mally processed items like whole-mus- cle chicken and wild-caught Alaskan seafood. Likewise, the district replaced canned fruit in favor of fresh produce. The K-12 school district also serves a higher-end beef than typical school foodservice operations. As a result of these efforts, Greenville County Schools continue to earn recognition from various entities, and its approach continues to be more of the rule today than the exception for school districts across the country. "[The industry has moved to] more chef- driven menus with international avors, lots of handheld items and customizable stations where students can build their own lunches," says Urban. A Cook-to-Order Focus Before Michelle Obama championed the 2011 Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act, which mandates healthier school lunch programs, school foodservice menus and service styles rarely changed. Fast-forward to today, and change now represents the one constant on the menu. Many of the changes were —rst noticeable in colleges and universities, then made their way to high schools and middle schools. Elementary schools, though, present a bigger challenge. "In elementary schools, we're see- ing more self-serve fruit and veggie bars, so kids can have more say in that part of their meal," says Nick Saccaro, president of Quest Food Management, a food management company in Lombard, Ill. "These schools' physical space may not allow for a high school- type offering." Yet, the inux of healthier options is not necessarily a game changer on its own. "The problem is you can serve healthy food, but if no one eats it, that's not a win," says Scott Reitano, prin- cipal of the Reitano Design Group in Indianapolis. It's also about the approach to the offering. "Research shows when Scratch Spells Success in School Foodservice Evolving from heat-and-serve to cook-to-order, school foodservice programs continue to overhaul traditional menus and kitchen spaces. | By Lisa White |

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