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Whether they are following the example of classic Japanese Bento boxes, offering a cafeteria spin on the popular American Lunchables brand or giving a nod to today’s charcuterie trend, packaged meal components for personal assembly are a menu item catching on with school nutrition operators—and catching fire with their K-12 customers.

Examples of these “Lunch Buddies,” “Bistro Boxes” and “Power Packs” have been surging on social media this fall, although use of the concept was building steam pre-COVID. This new SN Plus article, “ The Boxed Lunch Boom,” explores the menu trend, offering mix-and-match component suggestions to inspire innovation and differentiation, appealing to students in all grade levels and leveraging the popularity of similar items found in retail and quick-serve restaurants.

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Individual SN Plus articles are published periodically as extras to School Nutrition magazine’s print and digital editions. Click hereto read “The Boxed Lunch Boom” on your device or print out a hard copy. Share it with your team members. We simply ask that if you share it outside of the school nutrition community, credit should be provided to School Nutrition/School Nutrition Association. Visit the SN Plus page to access other recent articles.

School Nutrition thanks to Conagra Foodservice for its generous support in making this article available.

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