School nutrition heroes have overcome the greatest hurdles of their careers in recent months, facing surprises, challenges and developing lightning-fast solutions. As districts continue to figure out ever-changing logistics, many are creatively balancing two large obstacles: staffing and budget. The Red Gold team recognizes and honors the amazing feats school nutrition professionals are accomplishing and is delighted to be a part of the solution during these challenging times. With steady product availability of both bulk and individually wrapped offerings, Red Gold has remained a faithful staple in school kitchens as a popular and versatile Red/Orange vegetable.
With many districts moving toward individually wrapped offerings, Red Gold Salsa and Marinara Dipping Cups are increasing in popularity. Many districts are serving Red Gold Marinara Dip Cups with various breaded cheese sticks as their red/orange vegetable offering, and students are loving the “dunkable” nature of these menu offerings.
Many leading districts have started broadening their offerings with innovative approaches, such as creating Grab N’ Go pizza kits with flat bread, cheese and a fruit option. Pizza kits are becoming a menu staple for several reasons. Most students love pizza, and school nutrition staff love how easy it is to prepare. Families also appreciate the ease of pick up and meal delivery. The industry has also seen districts creating a whole pizza for students’ entire family, for Friday night take home, and are also able to count it as a weekend meal offering.
Moving beyond pizza, tacos and nachos continue to be big sellers across all grades. Foodservice Directors have been diverting their commodity dollars to Red Gold for popular red/orange vegetable items like salsa for Taco Tuesday. While tacos work great in-line, taco and nacho options are also easy to transition into a Grab N’ Go offering. Schools are creating delicious pre-packed Taco & Nacho Meal Kits that contain Red Gold Salsa Dipping Cups (or 3 oz. cup packed from #10 Can Red Gold Salsa), packaged shredded cheese, taco hummus, lettuce, a bag of whole grain tortilla chips, and serving with a fruit option. Post-pandemic, these easy, popular meal kits will likely find a permanent home on the menu.
While individually wrapped dipping cups are the ultimate in convenience, some districts have chosen to take advantage of the bulk #10 Redpack Nutritionally Enhanced™ Tomato Sauces, either utilizing existing labor and/or putting their new sealing machines to work in order to maximize their budgets and increase efficiencies.
While Cheesy Breadsticks, Pizza and Nachos/Tacos are fairly common uses with Red Gold products, we have also seen other beautiful packaged lunches like Chicken Parmesan, Italian Dunkers, Chicken Fajitas and BYO Meatball Subs served with Red Gold Nutritionally Enhanced™ Marinara Sauce and Salsa. You can find many of these menu ideas and others on the Cool School Café Interactive Resource Center in the Red Gold Booth.
Red Gold would love to hear how your district has been using their tomato products in your meals. Please stop by the Cool School Cafe Networking Lounge and share a story of your best-selling menu items that use Red Gold products, to help inspire other districts.