Research from the School Nutrition Association (SNA) shows a near 20% spike in Gen Z’s salad consumption over the past few years. Words like “natural,” “organic” and “sustainable” are favored by the generation, as young diners continue to seek fresh salads and foods that are better both for themselves and the environment. Schools are responding to the trend by increasing their customizable salad stations. One New York school district is offering a build-your-own salad/wrap station three days per week, involving grade school students in the preparation process by allowing them to shuck corn for the salad bars and in other customizable dishes. Another district in Georgia is placing made-to-order salad stations in all 14 of its high schools, including creative proteins, like Tex-Mex roasted chickpeas, as ingredients.
Foodservice ideas for the Education Segment:
- If logistics permit, operate mobile tasting carts during lunchtime, as one Virginia school has recently done. Students can try unique salad ingredients and share feedback with your team before you introduce new foods on your bar or in your serving line. This is also a great way to entice students who bring their lunches to try their cafeteria’s offerings. Entegra has supplier partners from which you can purchase carts.
- If you already offer a salad bar, now is the perfect time to consider new additions that will keep it fresh and exciting for students. Consider alternative proteins like beans, chickpeas and quinoa, adding international flair where possible.
- Make your salad bar a place of learning. Educate students about the health benefits of the fruits and vegetables on the bar or involve them in the picking or preparation process by shucking corn, draining canned vegetables or paying a visit to a local farm you partner with.
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.