USDA launches first phase of Healthy Meals Incentives initiative

In this edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments affecting on-premises catering.

Here is your list for today:

  1. USDA launches first phase of Healthy Meals Incentives initiative

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service has launched the first phase of its $100 million Healthy Meal Incentives initiative aimed at improving the nutritional quality of school meals by opening a call for applications to organization administers grants to small and/or rural school lunch programs, establishes an awards program to reward school districts that excel in the quality of their meals, and helps schools incorporate best practices into their canteens. The grants will help small, rural school districts meet or exceed school nutrition standards by providing up to $150,000 each to help them overcome a variety of challenges, including rising food costs, staffing shortages, lack of space and outdated kitchen equipment.

Read more: USDA Launches $100 Million Healthy School Lunches Initiative, Announces Grant Program for Rural Schools

  1. Loss of benefits contributing to the loss of attractiveness of high-tech jobs

Growing fears of a recession, declining worker leverage and shrinking lavish perks like gourmet catering services are causing a mood shift in the way jobs at high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley are perceived, which is reflected in job search website Glassdoor’s rankings of the best places to work, which are based on employee feedback. Simply put, working in this industry is less fun than it used to be, and some employees are less likely to stay in the industry than they were before the pandemic.

Read more: A mood shift is underway in Silicon Valley as the lure of big tech fades

  1. School canteens prepare to feed hurricane shelter residents

Hundreds of cafeteria workers in Florida’s Hillsborough County are in full hero mode, preparing meals for thousands of people who will seek refuge during Hurricane Ian. Hillsborough County Schools are providing more than 60 storm shelters, which means accommodation and food. Many of those same workers who started making meatballs, pizza and popcorn chicken at 5 a.m. on September 26 will also stay in their schools during the storm and serve food to those in need. .

Read more: As Hillsborough County turns schools into shelters, cafeteria workers start cooking

  1. San Francisco airport catering workers go on strike

Nearly 1,000 food service workers at San Francisco International Airport went on strike indefinitely on September 26, demanding higher wages and maintaining their current health benefits. The strike comes after 99.7% of unionized workers at Unite Here Local 2 voted on August 10 to authorize a future strike after more than nine months of demanding higher wages. The strike was called after management refused to drop its proposal to cut health insurance funding. Workers would be required to pay hundreds of dollars in monthly insurance premiums to maintain their current levels of health coverage, according to Local 2 spokesman Ted Waechter.

Read more: SF airport food workers strike for higher wages and health care

  1. Study shows effectiveness of self-service pantries

The University of Chicago Medicine’s Feed1st self-service food pantry program more than doubled its distribution rates between March 2020 and November 2021 over the previous year, providing more than 42,000 pounds of food (an increase 124%) to patients, visitors and hospital staff during the pandemic. This contrasts with a comparable program requiring ID or other restrictions, which saw a decline in participation over the same period. These findings were published in the American Journal of Public Health and, according to the research team, demonstrate the importance of self-catering pantry programs.

Read more: Pantry No Questions Asked More Than Doubled Attendance During Pandemic

Prime: On-site farm-to-table effort benefits Virginia’s retirement community

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

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