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Stoke student excitement for school meals with fun, familiar additions to the menu

Menus that feature foods and flavors that are familiar while still offering enough variety to keep students interested are sure to boost excitement around school meals.

3 min read


Stoke student excitement for school meals with fun, familiar additions to the menu

Image: iStock

This post is sponsored by Campbell’s Foodservice.

Offering meal options that are exciting to students can go a long way towards boosting participation in school meal programs. Striking a balance between variety and familiarity is key to appealing to K-12 students, and making a few small tweaks to menus can help school foodservice operators serve up fun meals and snacks with minimal extra effort.

Lack of variety is a common complaint among students when it comes to school meals, according to The School Nutrition Association report “Thought Starters on Reopening Schools for SY2020-21,” which advises school foodservice operators to avoid menus that might seem repetitive.

Using different combinations of food and beverage items can be a useful approach for creating a sense of variety while still keeping budget and time constraints in mind. Simply switching up different elements can keep students interested in what’s on their plate while still utilizing the tried-and-true items that are the mainstays of a school cafeteria’s inventory. Pretzels and cut-up vegetables can be served with hummus or a variety of other dips, and whole grain grahams can be substituted for granola for a fun twist on a breakfast parfait.

Another way to boost student excitement about school meals is by introducing foods and brands that they gravitate to at home or in restaurants.

Goldfish® is the No.1 cracker brand among households with kids under 12, according to IRI data[1]. The brand’s whole grain snacks are compliant with the USDA’s Smart Snacks for Schools initiative, and single-serve packaging makes them an easy addition to school meals.

The fun and familiar shape of Goldfish® crackers appeals to students, and different varieties, such as pretzel, grahams and cheese crackers with different colors sourced from plants, allow school foodservice operators to easily switch up what they offer, or let students choose their favorite.

The most recent addition to the Goldfish® lineup is Goldfish® — Disney Mickey Mouse Cheddar Crackers Baked with Whole Grain, which combines traditional Goldfish® crackers and Disney’s Mickey Mouse shaped crackers for a fun mix designed to put a smile on students’ faces.

The new line of single-serve Goldfish®  crackers, which launched in 2020, includes three different package designs featuring Disney’s Mickey Mouse, which is the No. 1 character franchise in the world.[2]

“We love the integration of the Goldfish® brand with Disney’s Mickey Mouse character — it’s the ultimate duo of two brands that kids know and love,” said Cameron Flacco, director of marketing for Campbell’s Foodservice.

“Our goal with this pairing is to help school operators bring more smiles to students’ faces and boost [meal] participation in their schools.”

Visit the Campbell’s Foodservice site for more information about creating exciting and balanced school meals with Goldfish® crackers.

[1] IRI National Consumer Panel, Total US – All Outlets, 52 Weeks Ending July 4, 2021.

[2] TWDC Retail Sales Analysis 2015.