How Revolution Foods Is Reinventing School Lunch Programs

B Magazine
By Carrie Kirby
September 7, 2016

The Company Creating Healthy School Lunches That Kids Actually Want to Eat

A dozen chil­dren jos­tle to watch Rev­o­lu­tion Foods chef Amy Klein shake up sal­ad dress­ing in a Mason jar. When Klein asks who wants to help mea­sure out sesame oil, the kids’ hands shoot up. When it’s time to sam­ple the dress­ing — a blend of fresh lemon juice, oil, sug­ar and spices — on fresh cucum­ber rounds, most of the kids approve, but one kinder­garten-age boy in an orange T‑shirt hands back his fork.

This is not good!” asserts the lit­tle guy.

What do you think would make it bet­ter?” Klein asks him.

Klein’s ques­tion is key to how Rev­o­lu­tion Foods han­dles its prime chal­lenge: How do you make healthy school lunch­es chil­dren will actu­al­ly eat? The answer: Involve the chil­dren in the recipe creation.

The approach is clear­ly work­ing. Today, this school lunch provider, rec­og­nized as a 2016 Best for Cus­tomers hon­oree, sup­plies 1.5 mil­lion meals a week to 1,000 schools in 30 major cities, and brings in about $125 mil­lion in annu­al revenue.

Over the years, com­pa­ny co-founders Kristin Rich­mond and Kirsten Tobey have grown their fam­i­lies along­side their com­pa­ny. Rich­mond was preg­nant with her first child when they launched in 2006. With five kids between them today, they call them­selves “Moms on a Mission.”

Rev­o­lu­tion Foods’ aim is to use what has long been regard­ed as food­ie pur­ga­to­ry — the school lunch pro­gram — to cre­ate life­long habits of healthy eat­ing. Its lunch­es are pre­pared in cen­tral kitchens and reheat­ed in retherm ovens at schools, not unlike many school lunch­es have been read­ied in recent years. But these healthy school lunch­es are dif­fer­ent: They con­tain high-qual­i­ty ingre­di­ents, with an empha­sis on fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles and whole grains. The meals also stand out for what they exclude: high-fruc­tose corn syrup and arti­fi­cial col­ors, fla­vors and sweeteners.

To read the full arti­cle, vis­it B Mag­a­zine.