Back to School, Back to the Basics: Students Return to California-Centric Lunch Options at School

August 28, 2015

Sodexo’s new “Think [CA]” school lunch program supports local growers while empowering students to make nutritionally sound choices

Back to School, Back to the Basics: Students Return to California-Centric Lunch Options at School

GAITHERSBURG, Md., August 28, 2015 - As students in California head back to school this month, they will be introduced to a fresh philosophy in the cafeteria – a host of brand-new menu additions developed by local Sodexo chefs in response to changing palettes and student requests for more vegetarian and ethnic cuisine options. New choices include Black Bean and California Rice Salad Shaker, hand rolled burritos and Sriracha Cheese Wrap. The main focus is on locally-grown and sourced ingredients, healthier options and made-from-scratch cooking.

Sodexo is launching its “Think [CA]” program this month in 41 school districts statewide. The California-specific program places an added emphasis on fresh and healthy options for students by leveraging the state’s bounty of locally-grown produce and ingredients throughout the menu.

“The focus of Sodexo’s Think [CA] program is to cultivate life-long healthy eating habits for our students. It’s the scale of our operations and scope of our local supplier network that allow us to readily provide the freshest product to our clients and their customers,” said Jude Medeiros, Sodexo regional vice president. “Sodexo’s Schools division in California spends $48 million annually, including more than $15 million worth of fresh produce that is grown in the state.”

This new emphasis on utilizing California-sourced ingredients means that Sodexo is purchasing the following for the California schools they serve:

  • 100% of the fresh dairy is from California farmers and manufacturers
  • 100% of the fresh bakery items are both made in California and delivered by California companies
  • 80% of all fresh produce is California-grown

In addition to a more robust use of California-sourced ingredients, the newly-revised menus include a focus on fewer processed ingredients and fresh preparation methods. Schools will now serve nitrate-free lunch meats, all natural cheeses, made-from-scratch salad dressings, and entrees made from seven ingredients or less. 

“We want parents to know that Sodexo is their partner in ensuring that their children have healthy, delicious meals at school, but more importantly, we’re working alongside parents to help kids learn to make nutritious choices,” said Medeiros. “Healthy kids become high-performing students. Think [CA] will help them do that.”

Sodexo, Inc., the leading Quality of Life services provider in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc. is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. and funds all administrative costs for the independent and charitable Sodexo Foundation — granting more than $25 million since 1999 to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at

Media Contact:
Sam Wells 
Sodexo, Inc. 
301 987 4893 

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