chew on this
Posted by Dale Buss on September 8, 2010 12:30 PM
With school back in session across most of America this week, food service brands are under more pressure than ever to make a difference in how U.S. schoolchildren eat, and they’re breaking out new menus and positioning in the effort.
The Big Three of educational foodservice – Aramark, Compass Group’s Chartwells division, and Sodexo – are patently aware of how Michelle Obama has fingered childhood obesity as Public Enemy No. 1. And while the chains have dedicated a lot of resources over the last several years to formulating, distributing and marketing more healthful fare to their school clients, there’s nothing like attention by the First Lady to get them to apply even more.
So Rye, N.Y.-based Chartwells, for instance, has launched a program called, “Be a Flexitarian.” Originally rolled out last spring in celebration of Earth Day, the program is being intensified this fall, offering kids more chances for meatless meals that feature ingredients like black beans and brown rice.
Sodexo, based in Gaithersburg, Md., is adding more local and fresh foods to its school menus, among other measures. And Philadelphia-based Aramark is, among other things, rolling out two new food-court-style concepts: Tortilla and the Green Street Deli.
Obviously school-lunch fare has come a long way from the ubiquitous “pigs in a blanket” and “goulash” that many now-adult Americans grew up on. And the major providers continue to push the envelope with healthier fare.
So if American kids just keep getting fatter, don’t blame it on the school-lunch lady.