PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With summer recess winding down, Aramark (NYSE: ARMK), a global leader in food, facilities management and uniforms, is returning to class with 32 new K-12 contracts and great tasting new breakfast and lunch menus, created with feedback from middle and high-school students.
The majority of the new contracts are for food and nutrition services and almost half represent schools that were previously self-operated.
"School districts around the country continue to face tough fiscal challenges that are impacting the daily learning environment," said Marc Bruno, COO for Aramark's K-12 business. "We are proud to help so many of our partners improve the school day through cost effective and innovative food and nutrition programs that enable them to better concentrate on the academic needs of the children."
Over the past several years, changes in federal nutrition guidelines have challenged school administrators to find ways to encourage K-12 students to make healthier meal choices. Well in advance of the changes required, Aramark's team of dietitians and chefs have been developing recipes that reduce added fats, sugar and salt, and feature low and non-fat dairy options; lean protein choices; a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, assorted whole grain products; and 100 percent fruit juice with no sugar added.
"Making changes to the menus was the easy part; getting students to try them was more difficult," said Linda Sceurman, MS, RDN, LDN, Aramark's National Director of Nutrition. "We increased in-school sampling and surveyed the students to give them a sense of pride and ownership in creating the new menu items."
Today's students are influenced by what they see outside of school at quick service and casual quick restaurants and Aramark strives to match their expectations of taste, quality and overall environment. They company's culinary teams work closely with its registered dietitians to develop kid preferred recipes that not only meet or exceed USDA guidelines, but also taste great.
Through its Student Viewpoint® research, Aramark surveys more than 100,000 middle and high school students every year. From that feedback, the company creates more than 250 new recipes that are geared to student preferences, such as wanting more grab and go breakfast items and fresh made to order lunch entrees.
Some of the innovative new menu choices for the 2016/17 school year include:
- Chicken Banh Mi - BBQ-cinnamon-ginger glazed chicken burger and a cilantro Asian slaw with cucumbers and sliced peppers, on a sub roll.
- Sriracha-Glazed Pizza - Sautéed peppers and onions, diced chicken, and blend of cheeses, on a whole grain pizza crust glazed with a BBQ and Sriracha sauce
- Hummus & Chicken Wrap - Diced chicken, hummus, and balsamic roasted vegetables, wrapped in a tortilla
- Bacon Egg and Cheese Tortilla Roll with Salsa
- Cuban Flatbread - Sliced ham, Swiss cheese, and Dijon mustard with chopped pickle dressing, baked on a whole grain flatbread
- Spicy Popcorn Chicken Bowl - Mashed potatoes, country gravy mixed with chopped scallions, and cheddar cheese, topped with 9 pieces of spicy popcorn chicken
- Hot Tot Wrap - Cheesy ground beef filling with tater tots and salsa, in a hot tortilla wrap
- Cranberry Apple Muffin Square
Aramark is the leading provider of food and nutrition services to America's K-12 students serving almost 370 million meals annually to 2+ million children. The company also tailors facility services programs to meet the needs of school districts across more than 2,700 buildings.
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) delivers experiences that enrich and nourish people's lives through innovative services in food, facilities management, and uniforms. United by a passion to serve, our 270,000 employees make a meaningful difference each day for millions of people in 21 countries around the world. Aramark is recognized as one of the World's Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE, rated number one among Diversified Outsourcing Companies, as well as among the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
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