Benefits of Membership
Controlling ever increasing food costs is a huge challenge in the field of school nutrition. Being a part of a larger group allows independent districts to benefit from the purchasing power the group provides. The average school district in our group has about 3,500 students, while the group as a whole has nearly 200,000. This size creates incentives for manufacturers and distributors to provide outstanding pricing that an independent district would not be able to secure on their own. members enjoy aggressive pricing on all of our bids, including grocery, paper and bread. We hope to expand our bid offerings in the future meaning less work for the district director!
Nutritional and CN information
Each bid item is linked to a database page that displays all pertinent information about the item, including case size, nutrients, allergens, CN data and brokerage contact information. Additionally each page is linked to the item's ingredient, CN data or product Formulation Statements if appropriate. These documents provide the necessary backup when planning your menus, or preparing for an Administrative Review. Additionally we will soon provide a process that allows members to download all nutrition and allergen information into an Excel Spreadsheet, or download a file for direct import into our partner program, Mosiac. You can click on the image to the right for a larger example.
USDA procurement reviews have complicated the task of purchasing in school nutrition programs. All of our bids and/or RFPs are designed to be in compliance with these policies and procedures, based on the information provided by the state at the time. During a review, all of the information regarding the bid process, the actual bids and RFPS, and all supporting documentation can be found right on the buying group website no additional work needed.
Affiliated Vendor Partnerships and Discounts
Currently Food for School has partnerships with Mosiac, a menu planning and production system, and Nutrislice, a digital experience platform. These two technology programs can take your district into the 21st century with just a few clicks of a mouse! All nutrition and allergen information for each grocery bid item will be provided for you either in a csv file, or a proprietary file type, if available. Mosiac and Nutrisclice can be integrated for a seamless digital and technology solution for your district. Members can take advantage of discounted pricing, private training sessions, and sharing of menus and recipes with other members.
Food for School generally holds a vendor food show each year. Typically there are 30 or more vendors in attendance, displaying hundreds of new items for you to evaluate. Districts have the opportunity to provide real time feedback via online surveys at each booth, and the moat popular items are considered for addition to our bids. Even if items are not added to the bids, you have the opportunity to connect with vendors and even set up a taste testing at your schools. These events are a great networking event for directors, staff and vendors as over a hundred directors from all across our region are in attendance!
Website and District Dashboard
As a member you will have access to a group website that contains a wealth of information, such as updated bid information, vendor contacts, historical bid documentation, training resources, and much more. The District Dashboard is your own personal space where . You are able to choose what bids or RFPs your district would like to participate in, keep track of how many schools with the amount of student, contact information for all schools, provide information on delivery days. You can even upload new item suggestions for the upcoming bids which are shared with all members!
There is only one Food Service Director in each district, and as a result, we need to reach outside of our own district to network and share. Being a member of this group gives you that opportunity, whether it be sharing new menu ideas, regulatory compliance issues, or any other topic that we all have in common. Members take trips to each other’s schools to see how their kitchens are functioning, and we even do field trips to vendor's warehouses or the Boston Terminal Produce Market. Collaboration is the key to success.