If school year 2020-21 was challenging for school nutrition programs, it is looking like the upcoming school year isn’t going to be any easier. Throughout the summer, social media posts from foodservice professionals indicated COVID-related cracks in the supply chain and challenges with food suppliers canceling contacts. While it’s hard to predict when supply chains will return to normal, utilizing USDA Commodities could potentially alleviate some of the stress.
What’s causing all the disruption? A recent Wall Street Journal article suggests that a combination of inflation, labor deficiencies and supply chain issues are creating significant challenges for school nutrition programs heading into School Year 2021-22.
“Schools are struggling to secure food for student breakfasts and lunches ahead of classrooms’ planned reopening in the fall.
Some cafeterias are cutting menu choices as food suppliers face labor shortages and transportation challenges that are adding costs and limiting supplies. Food distributors and school officials say they expect to run low on everything from canned fruit to lunch trays, and some worry that the lack of options will deter students from getting meals at school.
Across the country, school cafeterias are preparing to welcome back students after running hybrid or remote learning operations for much of the past school year, when they offered prepackaged or to-go food. Many now find themselves at the center of supply-chain woes gripping the broader food industry: Manufacturers are cutting flavors or halting production because of capacity problems, while some distributors dropped deliveries to schools. Some school districts are struggling to hire cooks.”
To cope with these supply chain woes, schools are turning to USDA Foods/Commodities more than ever before. If you’re looking for some help with incorporating commodities in your school meals, look no further!
NutriStudents K-12 is here to support you in navigating USDA Commodities. First, our menu options are designed to use USDA Commodities first, saving you money.
Additionally, we can help you maximize the use of USDA Commodities with our precise Commodity Forecasting Calculator, saving you hours of planning.