Clean label products have as few ingredients as possible and a supply chain that makes it easy to trace all of them. In a recent interview, Kristin Groos Richmond, CEO and co-founder of Revolution Foods, shared how the company is creating lifelong healthy eaters through a clean label supply chain.
Making Clean Label Food
Revolution Foods makes and delivers 2 million meals per week to 2,500 sites, which include early childhood education centers, community and afterschool youth programs, districts and charter schools. The healthy meals exceed federal nutrition guidelines because chefs work with registered dietitians to create them.
“We make real food from high-quality ingredients and with minimal processing. We were the first to have a clean label supply chain. All of our meals are made from high-quality, carefully selected ingredients that are free from artificial flavors and colors. We use fresh local produce, high-quality proteins, rBST-free dairy products and no high fructose corn syrup ever,” Groos Richmond said.
To distribute its food, Revolution Foods works with the FoodCorps reWorking Lunch initiative and Campbell’s Healthy School Communities initiative. The company also partners with Stephen and Ayesha Curry’s “Eat. Learn. Play. Foundation,” Wellness in the Schools (WITS) and others to offer students nutrition education along with food activities beyond the cafeteria.
“Through our Feeding Good Fund, we work with nonprofit partners to enable access to high-quality meals across the country. Our nutrition advocacy program empowers students to make smart food and lifestyle choices. We even have a mobile kitchen classroom to educate students and give them hands-on culinary experiences,” Groos Richmond said.
Every month, Revolution Foods gives quantitative surveys, which is part of Project Crave, to 2,000 students across the country. On a scale of one to five, they rank menu items across a variety of criteria, including taste, look, aroma and likelihood of repeat consumption. Then, regional chefs use the feedback to make menu changes.
Helping Students Succeed
In the U.S., 22 million children get free or reduced-price lunch during the school year, which serves as an essential source of daily nutrition. However, for millions of Americans, particularly those in lower-income communities, access to healthy food remains a challenge.
In many communities, families rely on the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to nourish their children. Under proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more than 500,000 students may lose automatic eligibility for free school lunches.
“Revolution Foods believes that no child should go hungry. Our goal is to ensure every student is properly nourished at and outside of school. Our experience shows us, and recent studies also support, that nutritious foods can improve both health and academic success in children,” Groos Richmond said.
Revolution Foods collaborates with school districts and administrators to create unique programs that align with their individual needs, such as breakfast and lunch programs, family support, afterschool suppers or nutrition education. The company has seen an improvement in student test scores.
“To assess the impact of our meals, KKS Advisors on behalf of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation analyzed student performances in schools across Louisiana, Massachusetts and New York that serve Revolution Foods. They showed that schools serving our meals improved English Language Arts (ELA) test results by 13.1%,” Groos Richmond said.
Looking ahead, Revolution Foods wants to expand into more regions and sites, such as preschools, colleges, hospitals, senior centers and others. It also hopes to expand partnerships with organizations like FoodCorps and the Eat. Learn. Play Foundation, while serving students great-tasting, healthy food.