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:
- USDA launches first phase of Healthy Meals Incentives initiative
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has launched the first phase of its $100 million Healthy Meals Incentives Initiative aimed at improving the nutritional quality of school meals by opening a request for applications for an organization to manage grants to small and/or rural school meal programs, establish an awards program to recognize school districts that are excelling in their meal quality, and support schools in bringing best practices into their lunchrooms. The grants will aid small and rural school districts in meeting or exceeding school nutrition standards by providing up to $150,000 each to help them overcome various challenges, including the rising cost of food, staffing shortages, lack of space, and outdated kitchen equipment.
- Loss of perks contributing to loss of allure of high tech jobs
Growing fears of a recession, declining worker leverage and a pullback on the lavish perks like gourmet dining services are causing a vibe shift in how jobs at high tech Silicon Valley firms are being viewed, something reflected in the job search website Glassdoor’s rankings of the best places to work, which are based on employee feedback. Put simply, working in this industry is less fun than it used to be, and some employees are less inclined to stay in the industry than they were prior to the pandemic.
- School cafeterias prepare to feed hurricane shelter residents
Hundreds of cafeteria workers in Hillsborough County in Florida are in full hero mode, preparing meals for thousands of people who will seek shelter during Hurricane Ian. Hillsborough County Schools are providing more than 60 shelters for the storm, which means lodging and food. Many of those same workers who started prepping meatballs, pizza and popcorn chicken at 5 a.m. on Sept. 26 will also stay at their schools during the storm and serve food to people in need.
- San Francisco airport foodservice workers go on strike
Nearly 1,000 food service workers at San Francisco International Airport went on strike indefinitely on Sept. 26, demanding higher wages and a continuation of their current healthcare benefits. The strike comes after 99.7% of the unionized workers under Unite Here Local 2 voted on Aug. 10 to authorize a future strike after more than nine months of demanding higher wages came to nothing. The strike was sparked after management refused to drop its proposal to reduce funding for healthcare insurance. Workers would be required to pay hundreds of dollars in monthly insurance premiums to maintain their current levels of health coverage, according to Local 2 spokesperson Ted Waechter.
- Study shows effectiveness of open access food pantries
The University of Chicago Medicine’s no-questions-asked, self-serve Feed1st pantry program more than doubled its distribution rates between March 2020 and November 2021 compared to the previous year, providing more than 42,000 pounds of food (a 124% increase) to patients, hospital visitors and staff during the pandemic. This contrasts with a comparable program that required ID or other restrictions, which saw a decline in participation during the same time. These results were published in the American Journal of Public Health, and according to the research team, demonstrate the importance of open access food pantry programs.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]