Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 10:15

Strong Showing at SNA's Annual National Conference

We had a fantastic time this year in Las Vegas for the School Nutrition Association’s 72nd Annual National Conference (ANC); an event dedicated to sharing best practices in innovations, techniques, and equipment for K-12 kitchens. The School Nutrition Association ANC showcased 375 companies and non-profits, 7,000 attendees, as well as officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all dedicated to promoting and safeguarding the vital role proper nutrition plays in the lives of every child.

A crowd favorite, Traulsen’s “Save Your Kitchen” Blackjack table, run in partnership with Hobart, allowed participants to play for fun and prizes. Over 250 foodservice employees registered at the booth for Traulsen’s Save Your Kitchen giveaways, eventually won by Charleston County School District. Vegas-themed decks of cards from the booth were popular among visitors, reminding K-12 specialists that Traulsen and Hobart equipment are the “safe bet” for school kitchens.

Traulsen’s commitment to improving food safety and accessibility was on display with the Milk Cooler’s sturdy, dependable sliding door. Top-breathing refrigeration system is easier to service and picks up less floor debris. With the lowest access height in the industry, for even the smallest students to reach their milk and juices, Traulsen RMC Milk Cooler line is the perfect fit for any K-12 Kitchen.

The conference hosted many other attractions including an awards presentation and a vast trade show. Experts and kitchen professionals from brands like Kellogg’s, Land O’ Lakes and Panasonic revealed products and recipes intended to improve health benefits, sustainability, and menu versatility. Foodservice is often the most underfunded element within already struggling districts and school systems, so balancing budget and nutrition can present difficult challenges for School Nutritionists and Foodservice professionals. This process has widespread impact throughout the country, as foodservice directors make critical decisions on food, staffing, and equipment.

Attendees learned the degree to which kids are developing their palettes and influencing what school cafeterias serve in a session called “Understanding Tomorrow’s Tastemakers Today” led by youth market expert Sharon Olson, Executive Director of Y-Pulse, and Patricia Fitzgerald, Editor of SNA Magazine. This fascinating talk explained how kids are becoming more aware of what they eat and more sophisticated about food, driven by competition shows like MasterChef Junior. Kids are becoming more aware of nutrition, which inclines young people to discover new flavors and foods. Ultimately, these changes empower kids to play a greater role in deciding what they eat, giving the foodservice directors who attended the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference new strategies for feeding their students in the upcoming school year. We look forward to many more SNA shows!