Monday, November 7, 2016

Schwan’s Chef Collective team up to help renovate school lunches

Chefs and Minnesota students collaborate on new flavors and ideas

Nov. 7, 2016 — Our team of chefs from the Schwan’s Chef Collective recently collaborated with the local Wayzata High School in the Twin Cities area to consult and brainstorm on new ideas for school lunches. Following the collaboration, our chefs took the information back to the kitchen, using the session as inspiration for the development of exciting new school foods and menu applications.

“We see the Schwan’s Chef Collective evolving to meet the ever-changing tastes and expectations of our customers and consumers. To do so, we will continue to seek chef partnerships to evolve our current portfolio and create new food concepts,” said Stacey Fowler, senior vice president of product innovation and development. “The Schwan’s Chef Collective is looking to customize sauce applications in the K-12 space by addressing challenges that food-service operators in K-12 schools face, as well as renovating meal options and menu items with direct feedback from students.”

The initiative was a three-day event that will extend into further research and application. During the event, the chefs met with students and operators to better understand their needs and learn what trends and ingredients are appealing to them. Input was given from students and operators to help the company create on-trend sauce applications that would add excitement to school-lunch options.

The input is valuable as lunch is a mutually important part of the day for schools and students. Food-service operators work to ensure high levels of participation in their meal programs, while students need the nutrition to fuel their education.

Our company chose Wayzata High School for the collaborative as it is one of the largest high schools in Minnesota and has one of the largest restaurant operations in its town, serving more than 2,000 lunches per day.

Schwan’s Chef Collective Lead Lauren Halgerson said the team focused its efforts specifically on sauces because of the versatility. Sauces can be applied to numerous dishes that give students the variety they crave without too much complexity for food-service operators.

Following the day in the school, members of the Schwan’s Chef Collective traveled to our Product Innovation & Development center in Marshall, Minnesota. There, they began applying the information they gathered to the kitchen.

The chefs and others from PI&D divided into teams worked to develop new menu applications for existing Schwan’s Food Service sauces as well as new sauces for possible menu applications.

The Schwan’s Chef Collective was formed in 2015 to help our company journey to identify trends and bring delicious concepts to life. The group also supports our ingredient-simplicity initiative, an imperative to provide food that is free from unfamiliar ingredients and to bring a fresh perspective to frozen foods.

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