Speaker Spotlight

SNIC 2019 Daniel Burrus

Maeve Webster
Foodservice Trends Expert and President of Menu Matters

What are the three most important innovative trends you see that relate to school meal programs?

  • First, the most important innovation in school foodservice is work being done to incorporate more produce into the meal, but in ways that are kid-friendly and encourage trial rather than end up in the bin. It's a significant challenge for school operators given the extremely tight budgets but many are creatively finding ways to improve the presence of a more diverse amount of produce on their menus.
  • Two other innovations I think are important are efforts to better educate parents and families to support work being done at the schools in the homes and incorporating more innovative food options on campus. Regarding educating families/ parents, this is a big challenge given communication, engagement, and other issues that will vary widely by district but increasing understanding and engagement at home will help increase support of changes being made at school.
  • Finally, many school districts are trying to find new creative ways to keep kids on campus and have some control of the food decisions they are making outside the scheduled cafeteria meals. Food trucks, innovative vending machines, and other options that increase variety without ceding control of the quality and healthfulness of the options available.

Give us a sneak peek of what you have planned for SNIC in your session!

My session will be covering off on Gen Z behaviors and preferences from at home to away from home, which will help to put some perspective around how this generation will differ from Millennials, what characteristics are unique to this generation, and how this generation is the same as other generations between this age range.

Many people in the industry are expecting Gen Z to be Millennials 2.0, but that is a big mistake. While this generation does share some attitudes and preferences, it is unique in its makeup and demands in many important ways. From healthfulness to world cuisine, the session will provide deep insights into what makes this generation tick and what this will mean to schools now and in the near future.

What are you most excited for at SNIC 2019?

Most of my work tends to be with manufacturers and other operator segments, so I'm always fascinated to hear more about the challenges and issues facing schools. Most people in and out of the industry have only a slim understanding of the unique and significant challenges facing schools when it comes to creating menus and delivery to students.

Additionally, this segment is always at the forefront of dealing with new generations, so I'm looking forward to hearing from other perspectives the unique and common interests noted after having served Gen Z for the past 5-8 years.

Fun fact most attendees don’t know about you:

For the past three years, my partner and I have run a cafe in downtown Bennington. The South Street Cafe has been at the heart of the Bennington community for the past 20 years, so running it isn't just running a restaurant but also creating a defacto community center for consumers that range from young college students to a large retired community.

Additionally, we are building out a small market garden farm that includes 20 raised beds, bee hives, berry bushes and a 100-tree orchard. And, before I got into food consulting and research, I was a trained actress who studied and performed in New York City.

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/MenuMatters
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/maevewebster

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