SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL DINING: EXPLORING THE INCORPORATION OF AN EASTERN CAROLINA ORGANICS FOOD PRODUCT IN SCHOOLS
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The need for better school nutrition has led to a new national policy, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) that mandates higher whole grain, vegetable, and fruit product into school meals. The HHFKA creates an opportunity for small organic companies like Eastern Carolina Organics (ECO) to create products that will help schools meet the new Nutrition Standards. Once produced, how will an ECO local organic food item be received by school nutritionists? The purpose of this study is to examine what strengths and weaknesses exist in the sweet potato waffle food product that ECO develops for North Carolina public schools. I surveyed school nutritionists following a product tasting. I ask questions about the flavor, student acceptance, nutrition data, price, packaging, and distribution of the product. Nutritionists enjoyed the sweet potato waffle’s flavor and saw it as its most positive characteristic. They believe students will accept the waffle based mainly on its flavor. Maintaining the flavor while tweaking the nutrition data to fit Nutrition Standards will likely be difficult but necessary. Nutritionists prefer a price under 40¢ per serving and will accept a high price if individually wrapped. Nutritionists preferred different packaging, bulk or individually wrapped, dependent on kitchen equipment and meal type. They viewed the product’s package appearance as its most negative characteristic. Additionally, different schools prefer different ways to acquire food from distributors. The data suggests that the client ECO should maintain the waffle’s flavor as much as possible as they adjust other characteristics before final release. This study demonstrates that a local, small company with an environmental sustainability mission such as ECO can use locally grown, grade 2 produce in food products for schools and is able to compete with large suppliers. The study also demonstrates that other small organic companies can enter the school food market. Furthermore, the participating schools serve as a demonstration model for other school systems to include local food products.
SubjectHealthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
North Carolina schools
CitationTran, Margaret (2013). SUSTAINABLE SCHOOL DINING: EXPLORING THE INCORPORATION OF AN EASTERN CAROLINA ORGANICS FOOD PRODUCT IN SCHOOLS. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/6873.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment