Meals served at school may be the healthiest that many kids eat all week, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Preparing meals for kids is not an easy job, but dedicated school food professionals all over the country work hard to make foods that meet nutrition criteria and that kids love.
At Campbell, we believe in the value of helping our children eat well. That’s why we are committed to helping school nutrition programs run a little easier and even better. Campbell team member, Jennifer McQuillan, DTR, School Nutrition Specialist, shares how her passion and expertise helps school nutrition programs succeed.
Q: What is a School Nutrition Specialist (SNS) and how does your work at Campbell help school nutrition programs?
A: School Nutrition Specialists are experts in running and managing school nutrition programs. They typically oversee menu development, purchasing, and overall operations. As a SNS working at Campbell, my goal is to help foodservice operators succeed. I maintain detailed product information, help develop kid-friendly recipes, and create other resources for K-12.
I evaluate our products and provide the documentation operators need to be eligible for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. I also review all of our snack and beverage products for compliance with the USDA Smart Snack program for a la carte sales. We recently expanded our offerings from 25 products to nearly 40 products after adding brands from our acquisition of Snyder’s-Lance to our K-12 offerings.
Q: How has COVID-19 changed school nutrition needs?
A: COVID-19 really challenged school nutrition professionals and brought a lot of changes to operations. In person tray lines for meals turned into curbside pickups. Labor shortages and supply chain issues brought additional challenges and continue to do so. Campbell worked with operators to create boxed breakfast and lunch solutions that met program criteria in a more convenient format. Our goal is always to support school food directors with meals and snacks that are both nutritious and enjoyed by kids.
Q: What’s a product or success story you can share?
A: Goldfish! They are so versatile, practical, and kids love them! They can stand alone or be added to a trail mix or meal solution. We even created a resource to show how Goldfish can fit any eating occasion. These types of solutions were valuable to school food programs when meals shifted to grab and go formats.
Q: Campbell just launched a new signature program, Full Futures, which is focused on school nutrition. Do you work on that program at all?
A: Yes. Campbell recently announced the launch of Full Futures, a program to advance school nutrition for kids in our communities. This program is currently being piloted in our local Camden City School District in partnership with many nonprofit partners with a common goal to ensure that all students are well-nourished and ready to thrive at school and in life. Campbell will invest $5 million in this initiative over the next 5 years, focusing on cafeteria infrastructure, nutrition education, and more. It’s been an honor to be a part of this team and use my expertise to support their great work!
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