Following feedback from UK-wide education caterers, who shared that cost, speed of service, health and sustainability are priority areas, a new moveable pop-up catering solution has launched to the sector – Kitchen ’72.
The insights, gathered by leading food wholesaler and catering provider Creed Foodservice, shone a light on what solutions education caterers are seeking from their foodservice partners, as they face squeezed budgets, rising food prices, pressured serving times and increasing health and sustainability targets.
Emma Jukes, Creed’s Education Sector Specialist, says: “There are over 9million children in UK schools – up 88,000 since last year. Just under a quarter (22.5%) are eligible for free school meals. Schools will receive £2.41 for each Universal infant free school meal taken and the value of a standard free school meal is £2.47. With food prices soaring it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realise budgets are being seriously squeezed.
“So much of the feedback we receive from schools is around the struggle to balance costs. The education sector needs our support more than ever in providing solutions that tick the boxes of taste, quality, health, are on-trend, quick to serve and are compliant with standards – whilst coming within the ever-important margins.”
Kitchen ’72, fondly named after the year Creed Foodservice was founded, taps into the street food and food-to-go market – set to be worth £23.5bn in 2022 – offering grab & go marinated chicken food boxes. Creed’s expert team of development chefs, as well as Celebrity Masterchef winner and Creed’s Non-Executive Director, Phil Vickery MBE, developed nutritionally balanced recipes based around five fierce global marinade flavours – BBQ, Satay, Tandoori, Mexican and Chermoula. Each box is served with either a tortilla wrap or rice, marinated chicken, a side of slaw and finished with a drizzle of sauces.
Creed has trialled the new concept in various schools up and down the country, serving hundreds of students at lunch time. A student from one of the schools that trialled Kitchen ’72, said: “The food was delicious. If this was served in a restaurant I’d mark it six out of five!”
Gary Stewart, Founder of Catering Management Consultants (CMC), who provide in-house management support within the education sector, says: “One of the positives of this concept is the recipes are based on very affordable ingredients but the finished product looks like it’s worth far more. The food itself looks really appetising, the portion sizes are really good, the Vegware packaging is sustainable and the branding is eye catching.”
Emma Jukes continues: “Secondary school students have the power to vote with their feet. If the food and drink on offer in school isn’t appealing to them, many have plenty of choices from eateries on nearby high streets, or could choose to bring a packed lunch. Tapping into food trends that younger audiences will have seen on the high street or on social media, such as street food, means students are more likely to stay on-site – helping to boost catering revenue. Not only this but it also meets school nutritional standards, so a win win.”
“Speed of service is another factor that comes up consistently when we speak to catering teams. Many schools have to feed hundreds, sometimes thousands, of students in a 30-40 minute window. Serving quickly and efficiently, to ensure students aren’t wasting precious time stuck in a huge queue, allowing them time to actually eat and enjoy their lunch, is key. Quite often the more exciting, appealing food concepts can result in lengthier serving times. Kitchen ’72 enables kitchens to serve 15 meals in one minute – which equates to 600 pupils over a 40 minute lunch break. It can also be set up anywhere and isn’t restricted to just the main dining area.”
Gary Stewart continues: “We see hundreds of pupils pass through the dining areas in the schools we work with every lunch break. It’s incredibly busy. Having a pop-up food concept, that could be set up away from the main lunch hall so some of the footfall is diverted elsewhere, would really help manage the flow of students and mean queue times are reduced.”
Kitchen ’72 comes with accompanying POS and branding, which includes posters, window transfers and digital visuals to use on social media channels, as well as serving items including branded lining paper and box stickers. It is the full solution which can be set up anywhere in the school area.
Although marinated chicken is the first Kitchen ’72 concept to roll out, the versatile nature of the solution means it is rich for expansion in the future.
Emma Jukes shares: “The potential street food concepts of Kitchen ’72 are endless – a Mexican-inspired burrito bar, loaded American hot dogs, stackable burgers, Malaysian curries with sides – we could go on! The basic solution will remain; it will always be a pop-up station that will serve pupils quickly and come within budgets but we can roll out new recipes as and when. It will keep things fresh and exciting for schools.”
To find out more about Creed Foodservice and Kitchen ’72 please visit: https://www.creedfoodservice.co.uk/kitchen-72 or email Emma Jukes, Education Sector Specialist at Creed Foodservice, on [email protected]