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Raise the Bar with Bars!

Now that we are into the school year, and most all of our schools are using a food bar or two (or week) on their cycle, we decided to celebrate all of these efforts! Why Bar? Bars offer a range of choice, choice equals participation -- it’s that simple! If you don’t believe us, let’s talk facts found within the efforts and research of The Smarter Lunchroom Movement (www.smarterlunchroom.org). When presented with choice, research supports an increase in selection and consumption. Carrots or celery translated into an increase in veggies consumed by 22% (roughly a ¼ more vegetables swallowed -- now that’s good nutrition!) We are anxiously awaiting the review of all our numbers for lunch counts for the month of October (count month) and compare to last year at this time – how much does choice impact our Pisanick Partners schools…..stay tuned, you are a part of the research to see how our kiddos respond. Are Bars allowed in schools given all the new laws and regulations you ask? Newly updated SP 57-2014 from the USDA is hot of the press (another July 2014 release that needs to be on our radar screen!). Entitled “Offer versus Serve” Guidance for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program, this fun filled 28 page read provides enlightening information in the form of definitions, general details and a nice question and answer conclusion (http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SP57-2014a.pdf) Directly from the content the following stamp of approval is noted, “Schools are encouraged to use food bars and salad bars as a way to offer a wider variety of vegetables and fruits and to lower plate waste. Food and salad bars are permitted with OVS because they offer a lot of variety, which may facilitate students selecting foods they will consume.” Bars are the latest rage! “Everyone is doing it!” Consider it work place peer pressure, but our savvy little consumers are out there in the world making choices every day, evening and weekend! We often relate to the Chipotle style menu approach, but the concept of choice is spreading. A recent article http://www.smartbrief.com/07/24/14/wendys-tries-out-diy-sandwich-menu-custom-creations#.VByGL_ldWgY highlights that another fast foodie is using our exact method of upping the choice game. Wendy's tested a build-your-own menu at two Columbus, Ohio restaurants earlier this summer. The format let patrons choose chicken or up to three burger patties, customize their toppings from a wider array of choices and pick a regular bun, pretzel bun or no bread at all. "You're definitely seeing more consumers today want to be in control of what they're ordering," We say if you can’t beat them, join and keep our students happily eating in our school lunch programs!

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