As students in grades K-12 head back to the classroom, Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) is focused on introducing students to new global flavors, technological advances, updated and enhanced spaces, and a new name and look that reflects the core of the division’s identity—Aramark Student Nutrition.
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As students in grades K-12 head back to the classroom, Aramark is focused on introducing students to new global flavors, technological advances, updated and enhanced spaces, and a new name and look that reflects the core of the division’s identity—Aramark Student Nutrition. (Photo: Business Wire)
“Our goal for the new school year is to provide a stellar dining experience for our communities. Simply returning to a pre-pandemic atmosphere isn’t enough – we don’t want to return to normal; we want better than normal,” said Aramark Student Nutrition President Barbara Flanagan. “As part of our continual drive for excellence, we decided it was time to find a reflective name and refreshed graphic identity to impart the passion we have for holistic student wellness.”
As the U.S. continues to navigate the pandemic consequences, Aramark Student Nutrition knows that the nimbleness and flexibility it has excelled at for the past two years will continue to serve communities well. Beyond that, the team adds ongoing innovation to delight students, schools, and families with ever-evolving culinary offerings.
This commitment to culinary innovation has resulted in the development of a Student Nutrition Culinary Alliance uniting 11 chefs who collaborate, review school insights, and work together to benefit schools nationwide. The Culinary Alliance not only creates menus to meet student desire for new and world-encompassing flavor, but also enables career growth paths and champions Aramark’s diverse chef talent.
Students can look forward to special promotions and events, designed to create excitement and introduce new and different recipes to students. Aramark dining teams will offer monthly special menu offerings, such as Beef Taco Totcho Bowls, Harvest Grain Bowls, and Gobbler Bowls, in addition to at least twice monthly special events for holidays, spirit days, themes, and national food days.
Student involvement is key to culinary innovation. The voice of the consumer is paramount, and Student Nutrition relies on testing and data to shape dining experiences; in fact, more than 60,000 students gave feedback, which provided the basis for the program and innovation pipeline. As one example, eight new smoothie recipes have been added to menu options based on expressed student desire. To prioritize student engagement, Texas schools participated in the Lone Star Chef competition in which 36 student-chefs had 30 minutes to prepare and plate a breakfast meal.
Aramark Student Nutrition: Powering Potential
Contributing to the excitement is the change in name and look for the K-12 business. Aramark Student Nutrition wanted to emphasize its focus on students and its commitment to healthy, good-tasting cuisine. The new look aligns with what the team does best: culinary innovation for everyday enjoyment, cultural connection through global flavors and community feedback, and imaginative collaboration with schools to meet their specific needs.
“Our foundation is built on student wellbeing,” said Flanagan. “We see the potential in every student and our passion is to nourish that potential and to engage with students and school communities in meaningful ways.”
Client response to the new brand has been positive, and several noted that the change resonated with them, as it was an accurate portrayal of Student Nutrition’s expertise and priority.
Thinking Outside the Lunchbox
Innovation in K-12 dining doesn’t start and end with food, however. Location concepts, technological solutions, and engaging programs create an ever-evolving environment. Some upcoming highlights for the 2022-2023 school year include the following.
- New Middle School Dining Concept: Launch of a new concept for middle school dining—LunchPad—based on student feedback and testing for fun and appeal.
- Expanded High School Spirit: The Rally Café concept was well-received last year, and 50 more installations will launch this fall.
- Sophisticated Vending: Exploration of RFID vending solutions for faculty and staff.
- Mascot Program: Educational publications, video, and visit opportunities with our mascot, ACE.
- Local Sourcing: Increased local sourcing to increase community satisfaction and economic power.
- Mobile Solutions: Electronic food carts and mini food trucks for delivery flexibility.
- Technological Advances: Value-added proprietary software (and significant investment in upkeep and improvement) for easier meal development and public facing communications.
The most important part of the Aramark Student Nutrition experience is the people. Aramark partners with 375 school districts nationally for both food and facility service. It serves 250 million meals to more than 2.4 million students annually.
This scope means that every member of the Student Nutrition team is needed and, more importantly, appreciated. The collective expertise of the team—from best-in-class operational teams and dedicated nutritional and dietary support functions to guest experience experts and functional support—contributes to the exceptional service and product provided to schools.
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves the world’s leading educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, prominent healthcare providers, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world with food, facilities, and uniform services. Because our culture is rooted in service, our employees strive to do great things for each other, our partners, our communities, and our planet. Aramark ranked No. 1 In the Diversified Outsourcing Services Category on FORTUNE’s 2022 List of ‘World’s Most Admired Companies’ and has been named to DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” list, the Forbes list of “America’s Best Employers for Diversity,” the HRC’s “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” and scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index. Learn more at www.aramark.com and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.