Innovation Brewing to Increase High School Milk and Breakfast Sales

In honor of National Dairy Month, we’re sharing how these high schools increased milk sales and breakfast participation while getting students involved! 

Getting students to drink milk can often be a challenge, especially at the high school level. June is National Dairy Month, so it is the perfect time to implement creative strategies to increase milk sales. A rising trend among high schools is starting a coffee cart in order to increase milk sales and overall breakfast participation. Instead of making a stop at Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks before school for coffee and breakfast items, students can choose a more nutritious option conveniently located on campus.

Right outside of Cleveland, OH, the Mayfield High School Student Council led an initiative to bring “Cat’s Coffee Bar” to campus. With the help of the Mayfield School Service Department, the school was offered a $5,000 grant from the American Dairy Association. Students can choose from four 12-ounce coffee choices for $2.00 or $1.00 with a breakfast purchase. Soy milk and seasonal flavor are also available. All items sold at these coffee bars must meet USDA school meal and Smart Snack guidelines. These guidelines regulate the amount of milk, sugar, and espresso allowed as well as beverage sizes.

Cat’s Coffee Bar opened at the end of January 2017 and in just four months the cart served 229 gallons more milk than over the same time period last year. Also in that time period, 1,554 more breakfasts were sold than the previous year—that’s 14 more breakfasts per day!

The benefits of coffee carts go beyond sales. Like Mayfield, many coffee carts are run by the student council or business classes and clubs. For example at Fairmont High in Kettering, OH, Marketing Club Students operate the coffee bar in exchange for a stipend to the Marketing Fund and Digital Design students created the logo for their, “Korner Café.”

Whether you’re starting your own coffee stand or another grab-and-go breakfast program, the biggest lesson we can learn from Mayfield and Fairmont is that involving students in creative nutrition programs can yield amazing results!

Grants for these programs can be obtained from various sources including the America Dairy Association, Dairy MAX, and Statewide dairy councils. Learn about more ways to promote milk sales during National Dairy month here!

Increasing Meal Participation, One Rice Krispies Treat® at a Time

Lexington School District One’s (SC) Office of Food and Nutrition Services are implementing some really exciting promotions in their cafeterias, and they are seeing all of their hard work pay off! One of their many events is the “Birthday Rice Krispies Treat® Day,” which is held monthly at their district’s elementary schools.

Even though the event is tied to students’ birthdays in that month, all students are encouraged to participate, and for every lunch purchase, students receive a free Whole-Grain Rice Krispies Treat®. Parents are invited to attend this highly anticipated event, which is included in the district’s menu calendar. They even setup a “selfie station” to take pictures with fun props! The department’s Marketing Specialist, Ashley Summers, has seen meal participation rise on Birthday Rice Krispies Treat® Days, and noted that sales were “through the roof” after one of the events at Deerfield Elementary School.


Congratulations to Ashley, Director of Food Service and Nutrition Pat Carter, and the entire team at Lexington School District One for making healthy meals fun for your students! We will be sharing more exciting marketing ideas from Lexington School District One, so be sure to stay tuned to our blog for more ideas you can try in your own cafeterias.



A Breakfast Recipe That Walnut Fail!

This week is National School Breakfast Week!

This is our last featured recipe for National School Breakfast Week 2016 from our Meals Plus Child Nutrition Cookbook, which you can download here. The cookbook includes recipes from Meals Plus customers from across the country and school breakfast recipes using USDA foods. Use this recipe in your cafeteria and as a grab and go breakfast!

Walnutty Blueberry Parfait

6 lb. + 4 oz. California Walnuts
25 lb. vanilla yogurt, skim
17 lb. USDA frozen blueberries, IQF, Material #100244
6 lb. + 4 oz. low fat granola cereal


1. Set up 6 qt. food processor with S blade.
2. Place 3 qt. plus 1/2 cup (3 # 2 oz.) of walnut pieces in food processor.
3. Pulse 3 times to lightly chop walnuts. Repeat for one more batch.
4. Pull 12 oz. clear parfait cups with flat and dome lids from storage and place at workstation. Cafeteria_food_in_schools
5. Using a 2 oz., spoodle add 1/4 c. of granola to each soufflé cup. CCP: Never handle ready to eat foods with bare hands.
6. To assemble: place 4 oz. of yogurt in bottom of cup using a 4 oz. spoodle. CCP: Prepare foods at room temperature in two hours or less.
7. Top with 1/2 c. of frozen blueberries using a 4 oz. spoodle.
8. Add 1 oz. of chopped walnuts using a 2 oz. spoodle.
9. Seal with clear flat lid.
10. Place 1 soufflé of granola on top of flat lid and seal with domed lid.
11. Date stamp and place in cooler for service. CCP: Hold below 41°F.


Nutrients per serving:
Calories – 407.812
Chol (mg) – 5.670
Sodium (mg) – 129.845
Fiber (gm) – 4.953
Iron (mg) – 1.951
Calc (mg) – 237.247
Vit A (IU) – 465.523
Vit C (mg) – 3.669
Protein (gm) – 11.869
Carb (gm) – 46.524
Tot Fat (gm) – 21.958
Sat Fat (gm) – 2.970
Sugars (gm) – 5.460
Trans Fat (gm) – 0.000*


Coming Soon: A Complete Checklist for Marketing Your Child Nutrition Program

Meals Plus offers more than a complete technology suite for your child nutrition department backed by the best technical support around. We also offer free downloads that help make every aspect of managing your department easier! Since our first white paper, “Not All Doom and Legume: Your Survival Guide to the USDA Meal Pattern Requirements,” was published in 2012, we have explored how to examine the financial health of your child nutrition department, best practices for managing your inventory, and tips to speed up your cafeteria lunchlines. And our next download offers a close look at how to market your program to parents and students and increase participation.

The new white paper examines the “Five P’s” of promoting your program: Product, Placement, Promotion, Price and People, and will be available for download this winter. And like some of our other white papers, it was written by Cynthia Sevier, SNS, former Child Nutrition Director of Guilford County Schools (NC), who has over 30 years of experience in school food service. She is currently the Child Nutrition Operations Consultant for Meals Plus, traveling the country helping schools with personnel training, pre-CRE reviews, menu preparation assistance and more.

Keep an eye on our blog and subscribe to our e-newsletter for a release date of “The Five P’s of Promoting Your Child Nutrition Program.” And download our other white papers here!