Lessons Learned from the NYC SchoolFood Plus Evaluation

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1 Presentation to Institute of Medicine Committee to Review National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs Lessons Learned from the NYC SchoolFood Plus July 9, 2008 Ted Spitzer, President

2 SchoolFood Plus Collaborative, multi-agency effort funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation beginning in 2004 Goals improve school meal programs in order to enhance student health and academic achievement strengthen the New York State agricultural economy through the procurement of locally grown foods Introduce more fresh and minimally processed fruits and vegetables through innovative local procurement, recipe development, staff training, cooking, social marketing and food education

3 New York City Public Schools Overview ~ 860,000 meals daily in 1,450 cafeterias ~ 8,000 school food employees ~ $125 million food budget 85%+ eligible for free or reduced cost meals 65-70% of students eat school meals 500,000 children overweight, obese or at-risk

4 New York City Public Schools Self-operated system Limited cooking infrastructure Since 2002 reform minded mayor and Commissioner of Education Executive Director of SchoolFood has private food service industry background Executive chef hired 5 years ago to bring culinary expertise into system

5 What Worked: Recipe Development & Implementation 40 plant-based recipes featuring fresh, whole foods, were written, tested, and placed in the menu cycles Food Group Beans Broccoli and Cauliflower Carrots Corn Greens Potatoes Rice Salad SchoolFood Plus Recipe Baked Beans Black Bean and Corn Salad Pasta with Chick Peas and Flame Roasted Peppers & Onions Three Bean Salad Three Bean Vegetarian Chili Vegetarian Chili Baked Cauliflower with Tomato and Garlic Broccoli and Cauliflower Medley Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta Salad Broccoli with Toasted Garlic Cheddar Baked Broccoli with Pasta Steamed Broccoli and Roasted Cauliflower Braised Carrots and Cabbage Carrot Rice Pilaf Carrots and Peas with Balsamic Glazed Onions Honey Glazed Carrots Lemon Roasted Carrots Confetti Corn Salad Corn and Black Eyed Pea Stew Corn and Black Eyed Pea Succotash Hot Corn, Red Pepper and Tomato Relish Zucchini, Corn, Tomato and Basil Stew Braised Collards with Chick Peas Cheesy Baked Spinach Collards with Sweet Tomato Marinated Potato Salad New Potatoes and Spinach Oven Roasted Red Potatoes Potatoes Lyonnaise Red Potatoes O Brien Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple and Ginger Cajun Red Beans and Rice Spanish Rice Steamed Brown Rice and Vegetables Vegetable Fried Rice Cucumber and Red Onion Salad Marinated Green Bean and Tomato Salad School Food Green Salad Tropical Slaw with Peanut Dressing Very Vegetable Salad

6 What Worked: Recipe Development & Implementation SchoolFood exceeded the goal of menuing the recipes within 62 SchoolFood Plus cafeterias at least 12 times per month and in all cafeterias at least 4 times per month Recipes not always served when on menu actual execution rate about 80% Menu and Service by Food Category, SFP Cafeterias (N=62) Sep June 2006 Category On Menu Served Implementation (n=5452) (n=4105) Rate Beans % Broccoli/Cauliflower % Carrots % Corn % Greens % Potatoes % Rice % Salad %

7 What Worked: Staff Training on Cooking Fresh Foods Staff training on merits of whole vs. processed foods, knife skills, seasonings, food presentation SchoolFood Plus training was incorporated into mainstream training program SFP Chef Billy Doherty conducting a staff training session.

8 What Worked: Service Line Improvements

9 What Worked: Social Marketing

10 What Worked: Procurement of Locally Grown Foods Creation of public interest broker role An independent agent that facilitates marketing connections and supply arrangements between public sector buyers and private industry producers (farmers/packers/distributors/processors) Creates vision and strategy for procurement innovations Pursues multiple strategies simultaneously Motivates buyers and sellers to do business with each other Designs to scale and for the long term Worked within existing budget and procurement systems Foods purchased that can be produced locally 11/ /2006 Volume (lbs) $ Spent Fresh 16,866,735 $7,970,036 Frozen 2,855,607 $1,704,143 Canned 7,867,647 $2,467,271 TOTAL 27,589,989 lbs $12,141,450

11 What Works: Local Procurement Year 1 Successes Summer Fruit 87,900 lbs peaches 40,700 lbs nectarines 6,600 lbs of pears Non-fat Yogurt 4 oz, non-fat yogurt cups made with no artificial colors or flavors produced by upstate NY dairy cooperative won bid against Dannon ~ 8,000 cases ($74,000) per month Apple Slices 2 ½ oz snack packs Made from New York State Empire apples Packed in NYS ~ $4 million yearly purchases

12 What Works: Local Procurement Year 2 Successes Strong buy-in from SchoolFood Farmer relationships solidified Summer fruit tripled in volume and revenue to $125,000+ Locally grown and processed Carrot Crunchers introduced into schools Local frozen vegetable blends developed National press recognition The New York Times, October 19, 2007

13 What Worked: Nutrition education linked to cafeteria CookShop Classroom sensory-based exploration and cooking curriculum for Pre-K to 2 nd grade Teaches same foods as SchoolFood Plus recipes Expanded into 130 classrooms, 2,470 students Adapted for school garden and farm opportunities PS 15 students at Red Hook Community Farm

14 What Worked: Partnership Challenges too big for school food service department alone SchoolFood Plus brought together city and state government, nonprofit, and university partners Attracted new resources Created enthusiasm and encouraged innovation Most importantly, attitudes changed

15 What are the challenges? Changing eating habits Pre and post digital images from plate waste study of SchoolFood Plus recipes: Summer Corn Stew

16 What are the challenges? Food from home Not much variety 54% of the lunches have only one food item and 86% have two or fewer. The most common lunch? A bag of chips and a sugar drink. More than 17% of the lunches from home contained only chips and sugar drinks.

17 What are the challenges? Food from home Food most likely to bring from home: chips 43% of the meals contained chips with 9% of the lunches having more than one bag. Sandwiches were a distant second, appearing in 24% of the lunches, followed by cookies or brownies in 20%.

18 What are the challenges? Food from home Few fresh fruits or vegetables Fewer than one-fifth of the lunches contained a fresh fruit or vegetable. By comparison, 35% of the lunches had candy, gummies, cookies or brownies.

19 What are the challenges? Food from home Sugar drinks and sodas Of those lunches with drinks, 78% were sugar drinks or sodas. Juice was included 13% of the time. Water appeared in 7% of the lunches and milk in 2%.

20 What are the challenges? It s not just the food Lunchtime duration and scheduling Cafeteria environment and monitors Styrofoam trays and sporks

21 What are the challenges? Inadequate funds: low federal reimbursement and local unwillingness to fund school meals 76 per meal food cost Changes take time, trust between partners, and sustained leadership Need culture that rewards innovations and improvements in food quality and food service

22 Conclusion If you can do it here, you can do it anywhere

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