Aramark Student Nutrition Turns Student Feedback into Menu Innovation for 2023-2024

PHILADELPHIA–Student voices take priority as Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) gears up for a new school year. Aramark Student Nutrition is returning with a refreshed platform for student engagement—SN Insights 360—and a holistic strategy to link the feedback with its nutrition and culinary programs to offer healthy, great-tasting options for the new school year.

SN Insights 360 is a proprietary, comprehensive program for community feedback using a variety of research methodologies to discover emerging needs of students through annual surveys, in-café evaluations, action committees, focus groups, customer journey mapping, and tasting events.

“SN Insights 360 is an actionable, exciting way for students to make sure that they influence their daily nutrition,” said Barbara Flanagan, President and CEO of Aramark Student Nutrition. “It isn’t just a feedback form or a checklist task—it is a broad-based initiative built to empower future generations. It keeps the focus on the students and their dynamic needs.”

To leverage the feedback into culinary excellence, Student Nutrition launched a Nutrition Network in March 2023, combining the resources of more than 60 registered dietitian nutritionists to share information and best practices. To pair its nutritional expertise with its chefs in the kitchens, Aramark revamped its Culinary Alliance to re-examine and develop innovative, new school menus. Composed of 15 Aramark Chefs in different regions of the country, the Culinary Alliance pools its expertise to bring unique, on-trend recipes to expand the number of student-preferred dishes offered across the nation.

Led by culinary and nutrition Vice President Beth Ann Engelland, the Culinary Alliance tests new products to see if they will work in a school setting, making sure that their toughest critics were there to try the new recipes. Among the new creations are Chipotle Cheese Nachos, Egg Roll in a Bowl, Spicy Tzatziki Beef Gyro, and Hot Honey Chicken Biscuit Tostada.

Engaging children to learn about the foods they are eating is a priority as well. Aramark’s ACE Mascot program is geared towards children in first through third grades and seeks to use “kid-preferred” video to deliver impactful content. The ACE puppet—an energetic fox—teaches kids the importance of healthy habits through games, short video clips, mindful moments, and multiple-choice questions.

“We continually look for new ways to adapt, refresh, and lead the way in serving our school communities,” said Flanagan. “We believe in taking a hard look at everything we do—whether with excellence or with opportunity—and using that evaluation to build better programming and stronger relationships. To do that, we are laser-focused on student engagement, culinary innovation, and community connection.”

This outlook is also reflected in the physical spaces for the school communities to enjoy new menu creations. Meant to capture the imagination, Student Nutrition energized its dining concepts, CoolCaf and LunchPad.

CoolCaf was developed from research with elementary students, parents, and teachers—of the 2.6 million students Student Nutrition serves daily—to reflect kids’ imagination and creativity. CoolCaf locations consistently demonstrate increased meal participation, improved fruit and vegetable consumption, enhanced financial and operational performance, and greater student and parent satisfaction. LunchPad offers middle schoolers customizable meal options that empower them to exercise their newfound independence in fun, comfortable environments. They can mix and match healthy and delicious menu items, crafted by chefs and dietitians, to suit their cravings on any given day.

About Aramark
Aramark (NYSE: ARMK) proudly serves the world’s leading educational institutions, Fortune 500 companies, world champion sports teams, prominent healthcare providers, iconic destinations and cultural attractions, and numerous municipalities in 19 countries around the world with food, facilities, and uniform services. Because our culture is rooted in service, our employees strive to do great things for each other, our partners, our communities, and the planet. Aramark has been recognized on FORTUNE’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies,” DiversityInc’s “Top 50 Companies for Diversity” and “Top Companies for Supplier Diversity,” Newsweek’s list of “America’s Most Responsible Companies 2023,” the HRC’s “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” and scored 100% on the Disability Equality Index. Learn more at and connect with us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.