ARAMARK Launches New Dining Environment for Elementary Schools
Cool*Caf™ Shown to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption, Speed of Service and Meal Participation
Philadelphia, PA.— ARAMARK Education, a leader in providing food and nutrition services at more than 4,000 schools nationwide, has launched Cool*Caf™, a new elementary school dining environment created as a result of comprehensive research with more than 2,500 students, parents, and teachers across the country. The new concept, which features nutritious menus, faster service lines and a fruit and vegetable bar, will be introduced at 60 elementary schools this month and several hundred schools in Fall 2009.
Cool*Caf was piloted at 16 schools in Fall 2008, with some showing a 50 percent increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, a 30 percent increase in speed of service and a 10-30 percent increase in meal participation, a key factor for schools seeking to increase federal funding for their food service program.
“Working with students, parents and teachers, we have created a dining environment that truly reflects the needs and preferences of the entire school community,” said Cathy Schlosberg, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Development, ARAMARK Education. “Parents and teachers appreciate the wellness menus and nutrition education, while students are thrilled with the fun café makeover, the menu variety, and the increased time to eat and socialize with friends.”
Cool*Caf incorporates ARAMARK’s newly-designed wellness menus that exceed U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and state-level nutrition guidelines by providing low and non-fat dairy options, lean protein choices, access to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, increased fiber from whole grain products, and reduced sodium.
As part of the concept research, ARAMARK determined that on average, elementary students are only allotted 23 minutes for lunch. Since limited lunch periods and long lines negatively impact meal participation, the company redesigned service lines, creating express options for students who are looking to purchase milk or access the fruit and vegetable bar. In addition, Sack Lunches, featuring hot and cold food items, are offered for students on the go.
ARAMARK also found that parents desire an environment that teaches students to make healthy choices while elementary students overwhelmingly want a social dining experience.
Cool*Caf energizes the dining environment using bright colors, animation and student-inspired themes and messaging that promote good health. Newly-elected elementary nutrition mascots, ACE and his friends, Marcus, Ana, Zack and Lucy, will campaign for healthy eating through a monthly program consisting of live shows, posters, and other materials distributed to students that communicate the importance of nutrition, exercise and getting plenty of sleep. ARAMARK Education’s current nutrition mascot, Spike, will partner with the incumbent for this school year and then will graduate in June 2009.
Cool*Caf is another example of ARAMARK’s ongoing commitment to health and wellness which includes promoting and expanding the availability of breakfast; offering healthy, nutrient-dense snacks; eliminating added trans fats; reducing the use of processed foods, added fats, sugar and salt; sourcing high quality, local produce and products; and advancing employee knowledge of nutrition and health principles.
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