In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting onsite dining.
Here’s your list for today:
- Groups charge USDA with “dietary racism” over school milk policy
Twenty-eight civil rights and health care groups have requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) address “dietary racism” in national school lunch programs, raising concerns to the federal agency about forcing millions of minority children to drink cow’s milk without allowing them a healthier alternative. In a letter to the USDA’s Equity Commission, the groups said the National School Lunch Program only incentivizes dairy milk, a policy they called “inherently inequitable and socially unjust” because children of color are more likely to be lactose intolerant, meaning they cannot fully digest sugars in dairy and can suffer from adverse effects after consumption. The USDA reimburses schools covered under the 76-year-old NSLP if they provide fluid milk during meals, which does not cover soy milk or other types of organic milk. Dairy milk must be served with every meal.
- Sodexo college student survey notes social value of dining halls
Sodexo's 2022 Student Lifestyle Survey of 490 U.S. university and college students (207 high school students participated in a secondary survey) found that over 60% report having felt overwhelmed and anxious, a 50% increase from 2020, while 87% say that eating together is the most typical way that they socialize with friends, and more than 50% expect their campus’s dining hall to serve as that place to connect. Also, with four out of five reporting that they are concerned about finances, 41% admitted to having skipped a meal to save money, and half reported that they are concerned about the state of their overall health, with a majority saying they know they should eat healthily but don’t let it dictate their lives. They also see value in meal plans that help prioritize convenience and time-saving options.
- Dropbox drops office perks in favor of virtual work, sees employee satisfaction rise
Under a new program dubbed Virtual First, launched in April 2021, Dropbox employees are expected to work virtually at least 90% of the time and only come into the office for occasional group gatherings in a space that has been specifically redesigned for group brainstorming sessions, special educational meetings, and fun activities like happy hours. So far, most employees seem to be happy with the change, with a recent survey finding that more than three in four employees feel like they have more work-life balance under Virtual First, and 78% said they’re more productive working virtually. In addition, Dropbox now has almost double the applicants per job post than it had before Virtual First, with the job offer acceptance rate up 126% from before. Some 90% of job candidates say Virtual First is what attracted them to Dropbox, says Chief People Officer Melanie Collins.
- Architectural Digest lists world’s 15 best-designed university dining halls
Architectural Digest recently pulled together the most beautiful dining halls across the world, many of which it says look like they belong in palaces instead of on college campuses. Of the 15, nine are in the U.S.—at the campuses of Flagler College in Florida, Pomona College in California, Cornell University, the University of Chicago, Yale University, the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, Harvard University, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and Sewanee: the University of the South in Tennessee.
- Children’s Hospital opens teaching garden that will also supply food pantry
A patient visiting a dietitian at Akron Children’s Hospital is brought down to a garden bustling with bees, vegetables and herbs where the dietitian teaches the patient and their family about nutrition and educates them on the uses of different vegetables easily grown in Ohio. Once the crops are ready for harvest, they’re brought to a food pantry located at the hospital where patients experiencing food insecurity can access them as needed. That’s the vision for Akron Children’s Hospital’s Food Farmacy and education and wellness garden.
“Nothing quite gets a child engaged like being able to touch, smell and see and kind of speak into that space,” said Mike Folino, the hospital’s director of support services. “It’s our job to get these kids comfortable and parents comfortable with vegetables, produce, gardening.”
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]