Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Aug. 1:
1. UK school puts students in “lunch isolation” over late payment
One of the biggest challenges facing child nutrition departments is recouping unpaid meal charges. It seems schools in the UK are having some of the same problems—but one school is taking drastic measures to get parents to pay up. Michaela Community School, a secondary school in London, sent a letter home to parents who had outstanding meal charges saying their students would be placed in “lunch isolation” until the money is paid. The letter states this about lunch isolation: “[Students] will receive a sandwich and piece of fruit only. They will spend the entire sixty minutes [sic] period in lunch isolation. Only when the outstanding sum is paid in full will they be allowed into family lunch with their classmates.” Giving students an alternative lunch is a controversial practice in the US, but I’m glad to hear that no school has gone so far as to isolate and shame students for unpaid meal charges.
2. Bottled water to outsell soda for the first time in the US
For the first time, bottled water sales will surpass that of soda in the US. There are several factors behind the shift—water is a zero-calorie offering that’s just as convenient as a bottle of soda. But there’s another, more recent, factor: water safety. Following lead concerns in Flint, Mich., and several other cities across the US, concerned consumers are purchasing more bottled water because of concerns over the safety of their tap water. It’s estimated that at least $384 billion of improvements will be needed to maintain and replace essential parts of the country’s water infrastructure through 2030, Bloomberg reports. This isn’t all bad news for soda makers as many have diversified their products to include a range of bottled water options.
Read more: Bottled Water to Outsell Soda for First Time This Year
3. Amazon offers chopsticks in cafes after employee query
Cultural appropriation of foods is becoming a hot-button issue in colleges so it’s nice to see that world cuisines and dining methods are getting a better shake at one B&I location. At one of Amazon’s all-employee meetings in March, one employee asked why there weren’t chopsticks in the company’s cafes. Chopsticks were available in some Amazon cafeterias but not all. Within a week of the question, chopsticks were available in all of the retail giant’s cafeterias. About 10 percent of the company’s employees are Asian, but it’s nice to see that Amazon listened to its customers and offered a serviceware that helped provide a more authentic dining experience—and not just for employees of Asian decent but all employees who are used to dining in restaurants with chopsticks.
4. Delivery app brings restaurant food to campus during late-night period
Are you offering your students a late-night dining option? Will you deliver it wherever the students are on campus? If you aren’t, there is someone who will and is more than willing to take that share of your students’ dining dollars. When students at USC couldn’t get meals from restaurants ordering during the late-night period (USC closes its campus at 9 p.m. and only students can get around on campus grounds), two students created a delivery app and service to get the meals to students. Through the app, called EnvoyNow, students order food from a local restaurant located within 2 miles of the campus. Another student working for EnvoyNow picks up the order from the restaurant and delivers it to the ordering student anywhere on campus. EnvoyNow has expanded to 20 college campuses since its launch in 2014. Students pay a set $2.99 delivery fee for the service.
5. It takes time to reduce sodium, researchers say
This is an interesting article that looks at sodium reduction—something K-12 schools have been mandated to do and something draft language of a bill released by the FDA seeks to reduce in processed foods, although voluntarily. This article looks at one of the most common sodium replacements, potassium chloride, which is in itself interesting. But one of the larger points made in the article is that reducing sodium is successful when it’s done slowly and over a long time period.