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Non-Commercial Foodservice Trends: K-12 Education

Non-Commercial Foodservice Trends: K-12 Education


Last Published: 03/03/2017

Non-Commercial Foodservice Trends: K-12 Education

Foodservice in the non-commercial sector constantly evolves due to ever-changing consumer demand. 


Operators in non-commercial segments, such as education, need to understand the overarching trends of the foodservice industry. These trends tend to cross over segments, changing the landscape of all away-from-home food businesses. Greater supply chain transparency, catering to special dietary restrictions, local flavors and meals “on-the-go” are becoming a few of the new priorities for the non-commercial foodservice operator.

To keep up with these quickly changing demands, operators that traditionally focus outside of the restaurant space will need to learn from one another to innovate at the same speed.

The education foodservice segment continues to serve a savvy, but sometimes fickle population of K-12 and College and University (C&U) students. Foodservice trends are often difficult to incorporate in the educational system as operators attempt to satisfy the rapidly changing tastes of their young customers. The K-12 and C&U segments each have their own focus, as K-12 is often state-funded and is required to fulfill many more government requirements.

K-12 foodservice operators have seen a strong emphasis placed on the special dietary needs of students, and are using online resources, such as nutrition counseling, to supplement their meal options. The pressure for K-12 foodservice directors to offer higher-quality, “better-for-you” options is growing, and not only from government regulators, but also from parents and students. More than half of school foodservice operators expect to increase the amount of locally sourced items on menus over the course of the next two years. Nearly 50% expect gluten-free items to rise, while the same percentage expects to do more scratch cooking. Furthermore, 58% of operators report that they find it extremely or very challenging to meet the government imposed sodium reduction requirements.


Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.

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