School Nutrition’s Secret Shopper: KC “Masterpieces”

For the fourth straight year, at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) School Nutrition magazine assembled a discerning group of “Secret Shoppers,” who were charged with seeking out the most exciting items on display in the Exhibit Hall in Kansas City. Each year the magazine’s shoppers are given a simple, straight-forward mission: Which products caught your eye—and why?

By using an independent team of operators to identify the creative innovations they find most intriguing,School Nutrition can ensure that we’re highlighting products with genuine potential to excite school nutrition professionals.

Click on the digital edition link at and check out page 32 to see the top 30 picks identified by this year’s Secret Shopper team and published in the October 2013 issue of School Nutrition magazine. Below, in alphabetical order, are 10 more intriguing products earning well-deserved honorable mentions.

Company: Basic American Foods
Product(s): Santiago Quick-Start Chili
Description: Shelf-stable mix
SN Shoppers Said: “A great vegetarian option! Shelf stable and good for emergency feeding. A cost-effective offering with no preservatives or artificial colors. A good source of protein and beans. Quick and easy to prepare.”

Company: Idahoan Foods
Product(s): Idahoan Sweet Potato Flavored Mashed Potatoes
Description: Shelf-stable potato products
SN Shoppers Said: “The product has a delicious taste which reminded me of pumpkin pie. It meets a red/orange vegetable requirement for 10 cents, and the preparation is very easy. It is also low sodium.”

Company: Power Play’te
Product(s): Power Play’te Program
Description: Colorful paper plates that use a kid approach to encouraging healthy food choices and be used in conjunction with a custom educational curriculum. 
SN Shoppers Said: “Plate will help teach kids of a young age to eat—or try—their vegetables. They will be a ‘taster, not a waster.’”

Company: Prairie Farms Dairy/Hiland Dairy Foods
Product(s): “Flavored Milk Made Healthier”
Description: Flavored milk with 73% less added sugar
SN Shoppers Said: “Uses monk fruit juice in addition to sugar for sweetening. Does not contain high fructose corn syrup.”

Company: San Jamar
Product(s): ModPans
Description: Stackable storage containers (and lids) in 1-, 2- and 4-qt. sizes
SN Shoppers Said: “These storage containers are durable, stackable, attractive and functional. Great selection of sizes for foodservice storage. Transparent feature allows you to see the food contents. Can also go through the dish machine for great cleaning.”

Company: Snapz USA
Product(s): Snapz 
Description: Packaged dried fruit/veggie snacks 
SN Shoppers Said: “Brand new technology to dry fruit, with a crunchier texture. Excellent improvement. Includes apples (two varieties), crunchy raisins, zucchini, tomato and pineapple—all very tasty!”

Company: StyroSmart
Product(s): StyroSmart Solutions
Description: StyroGenie reduces styrofoam waste volumes by 95%
SN Shoppers Said: “Great solution for recycling styrofoam trays and products. ROI is pretty good long term. [Company] produces products from recycled material and buys back the compressed raw material. Clean operation and staff training is provided.”

Company: Sun Pacific
Website: and
Product(s): Cuties®/Clementines Foodservice Pack & Ripe & Easy™ Kiwi
Description: Fresh fruit
SN Shoppers Said: “The Cuties are packed so that 1 Cutie equals 1/2 cup of fruit. They are EASY to peel and had no seeds. For the Kiwi, 1=1/4 cup, 2=1/2 cup; just cut in half and the students can scoop out the fruit! How fun!”

Company: Tools for Schools
Product(s): Roasted Garbanzo Beans
Description: Roasted garbanzo beans (chickpeas), similar to corn nuts for a light, crunchy snack
SN Shoppers Said: “They had three flavor profiles, and it was available in bulk sizes. Can be used on salads to increase protein.”

Company: Voortman Cookies Ltd.
Product(s): Voortman Rainbow Chip Cookies
Description: Whole-grain cookie available in single-serve packaging
SN Shoppers Said: “Packaging is great. Cookie tastes great—cannot tell that it is whole grain. It is hard finding snack products that taste good, have attractive packaging and [are] a good price for elementary schools.”

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