Case Study: Replacing Deep-fat Fryers

May 24, 2011

The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project conducted a pilot survey among food service directors in three states (Georgia, Kentucky and Wisconsin). Highlights for each state are discussed in the report, but cross-cutting conclusions include:

  • The vast majority of respondents indicated they lack adequate funds to repair and/or purchase the kitchen equipment needed to prepare and serve healthier meals that meet USDA’s proposed nutrition standards.
  • The expected costs of updating kitchen equipment as needed to meet new USDA standards varied widely, with a median estimate of $52,500 per school district.
  • There are substantial baseline differences between school districts in equipment use and preparation methods. Whereas seven percent of responding Wisconsin districts use deep-fat fryers, 88 percent of Georgia and 69 percent of Kentucky schools surveyed use fryers. In contrast, 77 percent of responding districts in Wisconsin use salad bars, while 38 percent in Georgia and Kentucky use this equipment.
  • Nearly all respondents indicated that their district’s food service staff would benefit from additional training, particularly in the areas of meal quality, food preparation skills to meet USDA nutrition standards, food safety and productivity.
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