On the final day of the School Nutrition Association’s 2010 Annual National Conference, SNA members were perhaps a bit weary but certainly still charged up after four days of education sessions, inspiring speeches and treks through the exhibition hall.
The closing General Session was highlighted by the passing of the SNA presidential torch, from outgoing president Dora Rivas to the new leader for the upcoming school year, Nancy Rice.
Rivas looked back with pride on a year that found the association responding with a â€˜food revolutionâ€™ of its own, including a vigorous social media campaign to get out the word about the healthy meals being served in America’s schools. â€˜Serving fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains is certainly nothing new to most of us,â€™ Rivas told the audience. Rivas talked about her excitement over meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama and getting involved in her Let’s Move! initiative.
Incoming president Nancy Rice was said one of her top priorities will be improving training and education. She spoke of the goal to increase the number of schools meeting the Healthy US School Challenge qualification from more than 600 to 2,000. Ms. Rice promised to serve with transparency and honesty in all matters.
Keynote speaker Marion Luna Brem, a breast cancer survivor, told the audience she considers herself not a survivor, but a â€˜thriver.â€™ Brem had little use for the podium, prowling the stage with unbounded energy and getting frequent laughter from the predominantly female crowd with her reflections on the relationship between men and women. Luna, who went from selling her first car to owning a Chrysler dealership within 5 years, outlined her 7 Greatest Truths About Successful Women (also the name of one of her best-selling books). Her seven truths are…
1. Resilience. â€˜What man would have a second baby?â€™
2. Nurturing. â€˜We need to save some for ourselves, too.â€™
3. Intuition. â€˜A matter of plotting patterns and registering details.â€™
4. Passion. â€˜I doubt there’s anyone in this room today who’s in it for the money.â€™
5. Creativity. â€˜Everyone can be creative.â€™
6. Sensitivity. â€˜Women need to be in touch with their feelings, but control their emotions.â€™
7. Self-Esteem. â€˜…cannot coexist with anger or guilt.â€™
At the conclusion of the General Session, a wistful President Rivas did a reading (no singing) of the old Roy Rogers and Dale Evans tune, â€˜Happy Trails,â€™ as the SNA members headed into the sunset of the 64th annual conference. But there was still more work to be done.
Diane Pratt-Heavner and Jen Lewi led an Education session on SNA’s new Tray Talk program, a campaign from SNA to help members promote their â€˜food revolution.â€™
The Tray Talk program includes an inspiring video that can be shown at PTA meetings or other public forums, plus a Web site, traytalk.org, that will offer facts about the nutrition of school meals, as well as a tool kit to help SNA members to spread the word in their local communities on the quality of those meals. Check out the video…
SNA members are urged to use the materials to host cafeteria tours and tastings with parents, or to use for P.R. with local media. â€˜We want to change the tone of the conversation,â€™ Schoenseld said, and â€˜have a stronger voice in the school meals debate. We need to reassure parents about the current state of school meals, and let them know that improvements are being made as well.â€™
Among the Tray Talk materials that will be available to members for the new school year are downloadable banners, badges and logos, plus posters, t-shirts and other promotion materials. SNA members were also urged to submit their own success stories which can be added to keep the Web site fresh.
Back to the exhibit hall
The Food Channel crew took a brief break from eating and visited some of the equipment vendors at this year’s ANC, including Rob Geile from Hobart, who talked about the company’s new energy-saving AM-15 dishwashing machine. We also met with Mike Burke from Vulcan (shown below) who showed us their new combi-oven, which cooks with steam or convection (or both).
Okay, back to the booths with food.
We visited with the Pierre Foods crew, who let us know about their new line of â€˜Smart Picksâ€™ products made with whole grains, lower sodium, and no trans fat.
We also learned about Heinz’s new ketchup with 15% less sodium and the brand new single-serve Dip & Squeeze packaging, which is just starting to hit the market. And we had the chance to “catch up” with the Heinz Ketchup robot, who appears to have kept his aspirations to be a standup comedian bottled up for years.
At the Bake Crafters booth, we checked out the company’s wide variety of whole grain buns, waffles, bagels, sweet potato pancakes, and snack cookies and crackers.
Domino’s Pizza was there, promoting its new Smart Slice Pizza for schools, which is a 51% whole wheat crust pizza with reduced sodium and fat. We tasted the pepperoni with roasted red peppersâ€”very nice. We heard something about kids liking pizza.
Just before the exhibit hall closed, we were able to squeeze in a visit to the PepsiCo booth, where they demo’d the company’s Sobe Lean brand Honey Green Tea, a refreshing zero calorie beverage sweetened with stevia.
Then it was happy trails for The Food Channel crew. We said our goodbyes and saddled up for the ride home. No doubt the school foodservice professionals were eager to get back home, too, to tell the tales of ANC 2010 and to share the many valuable learnings taken away from Dallas during these last few days.
Click links below for other SNA Conference coverage
Video: Highlights from the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Convention
Video: Ellie Krieger’s Advice for SNA
Video: White House Food Blogger Offers Tip on The First Lady
Top Ten Things Seen at the School Nutrition Association Conference
Nancy Rice Named 2010-2011 President of SNA
SNA Closing Session:Passing the Torch, Looking to the Future
Passion, Pride and Politics
Fairfax County Named School District of the Year
School Nutrition Pros Descend on Dallas Exhibit Hall
SNA Conference Opens with Guest from The White House
SNA Conference to Focus on Healthy Food Trends in School Meals
National Dairy Council promotes “Fuel Up and Play 60”
Michael Foods touts colorful promo, new products
Pinnacle Foods helps schools to juggle nutrition, fun, and flavor
Advance Food Company reduces sodium in its top-selling CN products