Back to school, back on duty for school chefs: How Cargill helps these lunch-line heroes nourish kids.
September 13, 2022
By Nicki Heaton, Cargill’s foodservice education segment leader
My mother taught elementary students in small-town Idaho for nearly five decades.
In a U.S. state with some of the lowest wages for teachers at the time, my mom worked with a small salary and limited resources. Every day, I saw how she did more with less to foster a love of learning in her students.
Today, in my role at Cargill, I see my mother in many of the school foodservice staff I’ve had the chance to work with. They, too, have to do more with less to ensure children have healthy, high-quality meals at school.
Since the pandemic, foodservice directors in schools have been managing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. On top of that, they have to meet strict nutritional requirements — like limits on sodium and sugar — while also providing enticing menu options for kids.
That last part is important, because U.S. school foodservice budgets are dependent on how many students actually eat their food.
It’s a lot to manage. But through all the complexity, I’ve seen first-hand how school foodservice staff go above and beyond to provide students with healthy, delicious meals every day.
At Cargill, we’re committed to helping them do it.
From Cargill’s unique seat at the center of the food supply chain, we can make foodservice staff’s jobs easier by offering their students access to healthy, high-quality meals.
Foodservice staff have been front-line heroes during the pandemic, and we applaud them for the critical role they play in feeding kids.
Moreover, from our unique seat at the center of the food supply chain, we can make their jobs easier by offering their students access to healthy, high-quality meals.
How? For starters, we’re providing food kids want to eat and chefs find easy to prepare in schools across North America — like our Sunny Fresh homestyle scrambled eggs and popular egg bites. One executive chef in Austin, Texas, explains why she serves egg bites instead of other inexpensive grain options many other breakfast programs provide.
“I chose to bring in this product because I am always looking for ways to add protein to our breakfast menus. Parents have requested more protein at breakfast, rather than just carbs every day.”
At Cargill, we’re providing food kids want to eat and chefs find easy to prepare in schools across North America — like egg bites.
Mom and dad know best. As experts in protein, we agree it’s a critical part of any student’s growth and development. Protein can help students stay full longer and focus more on their learning than their hunger.
And we’re providing more than food — we’re also supplying our unique expertise as a global food company. We consult with foodservice directors on menu options, tap into our in-house chefs for recipe inspiration and share innovative ideas to bring more healthy food to students.
Close to home
For me, this work is personal. I’m a mother of three school-aged children — and yes, if you’re wondering, they eat school-prepared meals!
My children recently started back at school for the year. As they do, I’m reflecting on the important role Cargill plays in providing high-quality school food — food that I’m proud to feed my own kids.
And I’m so grateful for the many school foodservice staff who are rising to the challenge every day, ensuring our children have delicious, healthy food in their tummies.