Adventure is on the menu in school cafeteria trends _ the market strategist

Trends in school cafeterias go through one main gatekeeper: the nutrition/foodservice director. Where do noodles originated from Nutrition directors juggle many competing and critical goals in selecting school lunch foods, such are pleasing kids’ palates, offering interest and variety, holding visual appeal and delivering nutrition at the requisite cost.

My firm, Insight to Action, had the opportunity to speak with 37 foodservice decision-makers across the country, including foodservice and child nutrition directors and dieticians.

Noodles and company arvada On average, these decision makers had over 15 years experience, representing a range of student enrollment sizes (from 700 to 43,000 with an average of 12,600), student ages from PreK-12, PreK-8 and 9-12 only, along with free and reduced meal percentages (from 4% to 92% with an average of 46%). Noodles and company vegan Cafeterias Fight Food Fatigue with New Menu Items

These school decision makers look to new menu items to keep up with changing student preferences and to avoid fatigue. Noodles company hours New menu items mentioned included many ethnic foods, from noodle bowls to frittatas and lettuce wraps.

“50% new items this year, we have tamales, chili rojo (not verde, made with red sauce), frittata, homemade burritos on the menu, baked potato with chili, cheese and salsa, breakfast taco, Chinese food bowl, pancake taco.”

“40% new this year. Noodles website Menu wise- to keep up with the trends. Noodles in broth What do the kids want, offer a noodle bowl. Noodles and company recipes Get out in their world and see what they are buying in retail.”

There is a need for new items and variety at all levels, even though choices for younger students may stick closer to proven, time-tested, young-kid favorites (e.g., chicken products and cheese pizza), with more adventurous choices for middle and high school students.

The new items can also include twists on familiar favorites, like pizza. Noodles house menu Pizza variety offerings beyond cheese and pepperoni slices and squares include new flavors, (e.g., buffalo chicken, white garlic and broccoli), new forms (e.g., flatbreads or Rich’s Pizza Crunchers), along with indulgent favorites like French bread and stuffed crust.

“You are always going to have pizza or hamburger, the popular items. Noodles and company hiring We even switch pizzas from year to year to combat menu fatigue. Noodles and company youngfield At the elementary level, it is just cheese because of all the guidelines we have to follow. Noodles and company menu vegan At the secondary level where we don’t have to follow guidelines, we offer supreme, meat lovers, pepperoni, buffalo chicken, cheese, and that is prepared in the kitchen from the cheese pizza.”

“We offer a variety of pizza. Noodles and company apex I think that’s important for the secondary level. Restaurante noodles We have pizza at elementary once a week and one kind every 5-6 weeks. Where is noodles from At the high school, we need variety.”

“For us, we like the traditional slice and then we do the cruncher – they brought it in and kids absolutely love it. Noodles and company interview questions So far, we like the pizza. Noodles and company online order Elementary kids just like the pizza basic flavors. Healthy options at noodles and company The cruncher is like a stuffed, rectangular chicken nugget. Chicago noodles Pizza three times/week: two are slice pizza and one is a Rich’s Pizza Cruncher.”

While it may seem surprising, an unexpected source of resistance on new menu items are often parents more than the kids. Noodles and company newport news Several dieticians and foodservice directors that we spoke with said that parents, especially parents of younger children, are not always happy to see food choices that they personally aren’t familiar with on the menu. Noodles and company eclub Moms and dads aren’t sure Junior will like the chicken lettuce wrap, and they’d actually prefer to see more traditional offerings.

My firm has also seen this dynamic in qualitative research with moms who are certain their children won’t like foods that they personally dislike (and so they won’t make them at home). Menu noodles With younger children, Mom may prevent the child from trying these items at home, and the school cafeteria may allow new discoveries for the child (depending on whether the child is a picky eater or more adventurous).

Despite the rhetoric, not all young children are picky eaters. Noodles and company medford An example of a product whose appeal seems to be driven by children’s preferences for spicier, less bland food is the snack Takis as I wrote about in “ Some Kids Like it Hot: Bland Isn’t Better When it Comes to Snacking.”

School cafeterias are increasingly reflecting the diverse tastes of kids and engaging students’ interest with adventurous choices—even when some parents’ palates differ from their children. Noodles and company lake mary Based on our research with nutrition directors and decision-makers, this trend will continue on the menu.

I remember seeing a couple of documentaries about school cafeterias several years ago, and I learned that some schools were instituting stricter health policies to fight obesity. Noodles and company glenview I am glad to see that more and more schools are following the trends for better nutrition. Noodles and company menu with prices Now, this article has shown me that they are also trying to keep it interesting. Noodles and company When kids learn to eat more new foods with lots of variety, they will have a better diet in the long run. Noodles and company kenwood