In advance of the new school year, Schwan’s Food Service officials discussed everything from culinary trends to clean label product development during the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) Annual National Conference and exhibition in Atlanta.

Renowned Chef Jet Tila, a member of Schwan’s Chef Collective, led several culinary demonstrations at the ANC. Schwan’s also collaborated with SNA to develop topical pre-conference and education sessions about the evolving definition and application of clean label expectations.

“Schwan’s Food Service is pleased to be actively engaged on issues of interest to all foodservice professionals,” says Helene Clark, vice president of sales planning and K-12 for the company. “This is our 37th year of membership in SNA. We are looking forward to learning from members about their successes and challenges over the past year and to providing them with relevant information they can implement for their own professional growth and share with their teams.”  

A subsidiary of The Schwan’s Company, Schwan’s Food Service, Bloomington, Minn., markets and distributes frozen foods to public and private schools, universities, health-care facilities, convenience stores and chain restaurants through more than 1,800 active distributors. Some of its brands include Big Daddy’s, Tony’s and Villa Prima pizzas, Minh Asian style products, Mrs. Smith’s and Edwards desserts, and Beacon Street Cafe hand-held products. 

Chef Jet prepared Thai Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice with MINH Sweet & Sour Sauce, a Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry with MINH Kung Pao Sauce, Black Bean Beef Stir Fry featuring MINH Orange and Teriyaki Sauces and Garlic Ginger Green Beans with Beef, with MINH Kung Pao Sauce.

Schwan’s believes these dishes all are on trend, give students the variety of flavors they crave and easily incorporate vegetables as a primary part of the meal. Meanwhile, these simple meals also are easy to produce in large quantities, can use fried rice as a base, incorporate Asian sauces and allow schools to use protein and vegetables they have in their pantries. 

“One bowl recipes are a great option for schools,” says Wendy Osborn, K12 channel marketing manager for Schwan’s Food Service. “We’ve found that students respond positively to ethnically diverse dishes like Thai fried rice bowls, stir-frys and curry dishes that can provide great grains, protein and vegetables.” 

Schwan’s Food Service also hosted, “Wait! Where is Clean Label Going?” a panel discussion on the evolving definition and application of clean label expectations. Attendees learned what clean label means for school foodservice from a regulatory perspective, including the Food and Drug Administration’s point of view on minimally processed food, food additives and food safety. Speakers also examined how to navigate meat additives found in cured meat. Another panelist discussed how one district is managing a clean label conversion with an added emphasis on food safety.

Panel experts were Emma Gregory, RD, senior manager, regulatory and technical affairs, American Frozen Food Institute; Rodrigo Tarté, assistant professor, meat science and technology in the department of animal science at Iowa State University; and Daniel Ellnor, CP-FS, B.A., manager nutrition service center, Jefferson County Public Schools and Kentucky School Nutrition Association president-elect for 2017.   

Originally appeared in the August, 2017 issue of Prepared Foods as Schwan’s Talks Clean Label, Asian Culinary at SNA National Conference.