2023 SNA Annual National Conference 

The atmosphere was electric. The crowd was buzzing. No, we are not describing Game 7 of the World Series, but rather this year’s SNA Annual National Conference. More than 6,000 school nutrition and foodservice professionals cheerfully made the trek to the Mile High City to learn all about the latest products, menu trends, resources, and ideas the show had to offer. 

Here’s a recap of a few of our biggest takeaways that are shaping the future of how schools feed their students.

Here, There and Everywhere

To better encourage meal participation, school foodservice professionals are looking for new and creative ways to serve students on the go and feed them when and where they prefer. This has led to a focus on meals in different spaces around campus where it’s convenient to their schedules. 

Aurora Public Schools gave attendees a tour of their mobile feeding units that were used to provide meals to kids throughout the summer as part of their program, Healthy School Meals for All. These mobile units travelled to the students and gave them a nutritional boost to power up their learning.

Early Bird Catches the Worm

Breakfast continues to be a huge opportunity for growth as on-the-go options are proving to be popular pick-me-ups for students during their morning rush. Talks of a drive-thru high school breakfast during the menu planning session was met with plenty of intrigue. We’ll take three hash browns to go please!

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

The need for labor-saving products, specifically portion-controlled, healthy snacks, and on-the-go foods that can help combat the rising cost of labor and reduce the time needed back-of-house was a hot topic. 

It took a great deal of self-control not to shove all of T.Marzetti’s conveniently packaged, single-serve dressings and dipping sauces into our bags.

Additionally, there were numerous education sessions focused on incorporating and/or substituting leftovers or extra inventory and menu items to avoid food waste and save on food spend.

Giving Back

The passion and commitment the K-12 industry has for feeding students is truly inspirational. Several companies set up programs and giveaways highlighted at ANC to ensure students can continue to be well-fed. 

General Mills was accepting entrants to give school feeding programs the chance to win more than $100,000 in foodservice equipment, such as breakfast carts and smoothie kits. Tyson K-12 had a live drawing to announce the winners of their Great Grant Giveaway and awarded numerous grants to school foodservice programs. 

About the author
Travis Fish is a Senior Account Manager at Esrock Partners, a foodservice marketing agency located near Chicago, Illinois.

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