Region 5 food show helps students have voice in school menus

Region 5 food show helps students have voice in school menus
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 3:07 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 6, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) -The Region 5 East Texas Food co-op took place today at the Lufkin Convention Center to show new products that could be put on school lunch menus.

Delois Harris co-op coordinator for Region 5 says they hosted 40 school districts, charter schools, and programs at the East Texas Food co-op.

“Our students and our directors have the opportunity to come in and taste and see what we have new available,” Harris said.

Parents, students, staff of the districts are all encouraged to come to taste the new products and give feedback.

Robin Thacker Director of Student Nutrition at Nacogdoches ISD Says these shows are essential to know what the kids want to see on their menus.

“If we can get them to tell us these are products that they like and would like to see on their menu then we’re a step ahead of where we started out,” Thacker said.

Every item served today was within the nutritional guidelines.

Amanda Calk, Director of Student Nutrition for Lufkin ISD says they have to follow strict nutritional guidelines.

“We can’t have anything that is too high in sodium, or too high in fat anything like that. All of our breaded items or if it’s a breaded item in general it has to be whole grain because that’s the standard for school nutrition,” Calk said.

At each booth there was a qr code where people could use their device, scan, vote and voice their opinion on each item.

Karen Hutto is the Director of Student Nutrition at Hudson ISD. She says the co-op takes all that data and sends it to the districts.

“For this particular show its kids in our area so we have information relevant to our students and what they like. And we use that and hopefully we get it on bid to be able to purchase it for the following school year,” Hutto said.

Thacker says its important that the kids actually participate in the tasting because the kids are the customers.

“So, it’s very important that we try and get the things that they want to see on their menu because its their menu, not mine,” Thacker said.

This particular show in Lufkin has been taking place for about 10 years.