Smarter Lunchrooms in Action: Easy Cafeteria Changes in a Florida School District

In St. Lucie County Florida, schools are finding success as they implement new Smarter Lunchrooms Movement techniques. Some of the techniques used include: creative naming for fruits and vegetables, displaying fruit in an attractive bowl, enhancing taste expectations through attractive packaging, and placing white milk at the front of beverage coolers.

The cafeteria manager from Manatee K-8 started giving vegetables exciting names and putting fruit in colorful, decorative bowls. The items presented in this new way were eye-catching for students. She also noted that, “We’ve started putting more white milk toward the front of the milk case; the kids are taking more thanks to the training.”

On a district level the county made an effort to increase student interest in new menu items. The demand for newly re-named: “Crunchy Hawaiian” and the “Baja Fish” wraps increased when their descriptive name was paired with new packaging. The new packaging is an example of a way to enhance taste expectations. The young customers are finding the color contrast of the wrap on a black bottom dish with a clear lid appealing.

Cafeteria professionals in St. Lucie County have already used a wide variety of Smarter Lunchrooms Movement techniques and serve as a great example that quick, simple changes make a difference in the lunchroom.

Beth Owens, MAg, University of Florida/IFAS Extension