Essay: Juice Truck New York City

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Juice Truck

New York City School Food Programs

The city of New York has school food programs that intend to increase the nutrition of the city's schoolchildren. The underlying logic is that children perform better in school when they are not hungry. New York serves meals to 860,000 children. The city is also a leader in legislating for healthier food, having gone on campaigns against supersized soft drinks, trans fats and having proposed limits on salt in foods as well. Thus, the New York City school lunch programs also have this same spirit, focusing on finding healthy alternatives for school lunches (Kwan, Mancinelli & Freudenberg, 2010). While it is acknowledged that school lunches are healthier than, say, vending machine lunches, this is a low threshold, and there remains much room for improvement of school lunches. New York City is among the leading jurisdictions that is committed to finding ways to improve school lunches and the offerings available to students.

There are several policy targets that the City of New York has for its school lunch program. Among them are several that are important to my business idea. These include the use of local food and improving the healthfulness of school lunches, creating a nutrition curriculum for K-12 and to ban all competitive food from New York schools (Kwan, Mancinelli & Freudenberg, 2010).

Another program that is relevant is the federal school lunch program, which affects not only urban areas but all parts of the country. While New York aims to do better than the national program, many schools rely on the federal program. This program has been improved since Obama took office, with Michelle Obama championing better nutrition standards for school lunches (Hinman, 2011).

The federal school lunch program provides funding to schools and strict guidelines. One of the recent developments was an increase in the budget of six cents per meal to improve nutrition, in line with increased standards for nutrition. With such tight constrictions, many schools are turning to professional vendors who have extensive experience meeting these tight guidelines, rather than handling school lunches in house. When there was no reimbursement for nutritional content, schools were allowed to offer anything from Pizza Hut to Taco Bell, but the trend today is away from such junk food, to healthier options, so long as they can be brought under budget.

There are concerns, however, with the direction that school lunches are going. There are many vested interests that create controversy and resist change, because it will negatively affect them. However, this change creates opportunity for those who are willing to work within the boundaries of the existing program in order to deliver a higher quality of food to the nation's students. Individual school districts are often in a better position than the federal government to affect the necessary changes, and again this creates opportunity for a local company like a solar-powered juice truck.

Another program to look at for an understanding of the market environment is in Chicago, where creative solutions to school lunches are being tested. Chicago public schools, under a recent program, have tested better food. There was resistance, of course, because principals at schools are evaluated on test scores. It never occurred to them that test scores are going to be higher when kids eat healthy food than when their bodies are saturated with crap. The program that began at Louisa May Alcott school was successful, however, and has since been expanded to a number of other schools. The program included not only good food, but also nutrition education, as part of a comprehensive wellness program. In recent years, the federal government has also begun to see the benefits of nutritional education among the nation's students. This clearly creates a positive trend and good opportunity for our juice truck. Students are going to benefit from having better nutritional information, and make smarter choices with what they eat. This will in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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