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:
1. Study finds healthier school meals may have curbed child obesity
Changes to the national school lunch program in the last decade that cracked down on sodium and fat content in school meals and required more fruits and vegetables could have reduced children’s likelihood of becoming overweight, according to a new research paper. “These results suggest that improvements in the nutritional content of school lunches have been largely successful in reversing the previously negative relationship between school lunches and childhood obesity,” the researchers concluded.
2. USDA approves lab-grown chicken for sale to consumers
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the sale of cell-cultured chicken in a landmark decision that clears the path for consumers to try it out themselves, the two startups that received the first approvals said. Proponents of cultured meat say it’s healthier and more environmentally friendly than traditional meat but, outside the U.S., only Singapore has cleared the sale of cell-cultured meat.
3. Final school meal rules expected to be released next April
The U.S. Department of Agriculture expects to release final rules in April 2024 on two important school meal proposals—one to expand the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) that allows free meals to be served to all students at high-poverty schools, and the other to heighten nutrition guidance. USDA’s February proposed rule to gradually implement more stringent school nutrition standards received a flood of public comments—over 136,000. The proposal would revise standards on whole grains, sugar and sodium, requiring schools to offer primarily whole grain products starting in fall 2024 and incrementally minimize sugar and sodium content through 2029.
4. Survey finds workplace foodservice promotes socializing and networking
Compass Group’s Global Eating at Work Survey 2023 found that employees are significantly more likely to socialize and network with colleagues during breaks if they are provided with food and drink facilities at work, and the more advanced the food offer provided, the stronger this trend becomes. In workplaces with an advanced food offering, 70% of workers choose to eat lunch with colleagues and only 23% eat by themselves; however, when no food and drink facilities are provided, just 38% interact with colleagues during their main break nearly while nearly half (48%) choose to eat alone.
5. Oak View Group to take over McCormick Place foodservice
McCormick Place will have a new management firm and food service provider starting this fall as the Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority board of directors has approved contracts for divisions of Los Angeles-based Oak View Group to run the Near South Side convention center and oversee its food operations. OVG360 and OVG Hospitality will begin respectively as the manager and food service provider on five-year contracts that begin Oct. 1, replacing Los Angeles-based ASM Global as manager and its local division, Savor Chicago as food service partner.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]