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Shake Up at Schools and Other News

Spencer Fischer

Remember resenting how little control you had over your life in high school? Well, this may be small potatoes in the big scheme of adolescent life, but for students at Eastern Carver County Schools, personalizing their food is just another way the district is “personalizing learnings.”

Thanks to Kent Precision Food Group’s Flavor Labs Flavor Station, students from elementary through high school can shake six different spice blends on everything from potato soup to chili to emancipate their taste buds. 

Around 1,500 kits have been distributed nationwide by Kent in an effort to spice up school lunches after government guidelines made them healthier by taking out the flavor—fat and salt. “This is perhaps one reason why 1 million fewer students are participating in the National School Lunch Program today than five years ago,” Kent reported in a release. 

Carver County welcomed the Flavor Lab into its district, even though it had begun its own spice program before Kent rolled out its program.

“Three years ago, we got on the bandwagon to make flavor shakers for our secondary schools,” says Spencer Fischer, nutrition service assistant manager for the district. But when the Flavor Lab’s professional-looking station with marketing materials came out last year, they opted in. “We decided to go with it for the consistency,” he says, adding that their spice blends could vary depending who in the kitchen was making them. Plus Kent provided the stainless steel shakers and station at no charge when the district purchased the spices. Flavor Labs uses low-to-no sodium seasonings from Mrs. Dash and Foothill Farms.

The most popular blend is ranch, followed by garlic herb and chili cheese, Fischer says. 

A selection of pastries from Salty Tart in Food Truck Alley at MSP airport.

The district, like all good schools, is constantly working on new recipes, new offerings for Generation Z, whose dominate trait seems to be customization. 

Salad bars are still popular, he says, although for younger students, the term “salad” might be stretching it. “Elementary students love shredded cheese and crouton (salads),” he says. 

But even cheese tastes better with a sprinkle of garlic herb or ranch on it.

Mark your calendars right now—before the dishwasher calls in sick or the Ostrich eggs weren’t delivered and you have to rework the omelet of the day—for Foodservice News’ fall business summit, October 25 at Surly Brewing Co., from 4 to 7 p.m.

In addition to a great program on leveraging your online presence to drive traffic to your restaurant, we’ll have an update on all the activity going on at the airport. Minneapolis/St. Paul airport has a definite local vibe going on there, in both its retail offerings and its 11 new local restaurants.

And for those of you who like to talk and sample beer, there will be plenty of time to network with other operators and with our premier sponsors: Reinhart, General Parts, Upper Lakes Foods and KLB Insurance; and vendor sponsors, Centerpoint Energy, Christensen Group Diversified Construction, Monroe Moxness Berg, PlanForce Group, The Yes Group and TriMark Strategic. 

Plan on partaking some of the best food and beer pairings only Surly can deliver. Visit www.foodservicenews.net to register (click on "Conferences" at the top). Or email Danielle at dianiro-larsen@franchisetimes.com

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