Urban School Food Alliance Leads Development of Pioneering Chicken Pilot in School Districts Around the Country to Transform the School Lunch Procurement System

Filed Under: News, Press Releases

Scott Carter: 571-359-1042, [email protected]
Alex Rodriguez: 805-331-7764, [email protected]

WASHINGTON, DC, May 16, 2023 — The Urban School Food Alliance (USFA) is proud to announce the launch of its student tested and approved Chicken Pilot (Pilot) using only No Antibiotic Ever (NAE) chicken. The first-of-its kind Pilot is currently launching in 14 participating school districts across the country bringing innovative, healthy and delicious chicken items to students, as well as causing needed disruption and change with a new healthier school food procurement model to support nutrition directors’ operations.

“We aim to drive the marketplace in school food rather than continue to be subject to it,” said Katie Wilson, Urban School Food Alliance Executive Director. “It is time to set our own standards for good food in our schools. We have worked hard with our partners, school districts, and most importantly, children to create a quality product they like, is healthy, and meets USDA meal standards. The changes we make in large volumes with NAE chicken can lead the way for procurement and nutritional improvements for other popular school lunch products.”

The Pilot is supported by Alliance partners, including The Rockefeller Foundation, the Rachael Ray Foundation and the Life Time Foundation. It is designed to not only provide kid tested healthier meal options but also showcase how the purchasing power of the Alliance’s membership can lead to a healthier procurement business model in America’s schools. USFA partnered with Rich Chicks, LLC to create the Pilot NAE chicken tenders and patties made from high quality whole muscle white meat with whole grain breading that contains no ingredients of concern as identified in the Ingredient Guide for Better School Food Purchasing.

“The response by the kids has been amazing, and I look forward to visiting more schools and learning how we can continue to learn and improve the Pilot as we move forward,” added Wilson.

“Every public food dollar spent by schools should seek to improve the health of our students. Leveraged cumulatively, these dollars can also support a more diverse set of suppliers and bring higher quality ingredients into meal programs,” said Noah Cohen-Cline, Director, Food Initiative at The Rockefeller Foundation. “The Rockefeller Foundation is excited to be working with partners like the Urban School Food Alliance and supporting school nutrition directors who are undertaking novel approaches to shift power in school food systems and increase Good Food in cafeterias.”

The Pilot is part of USFA’s ongoing priority to lead the effort to improve the quality of school meals and harness the purchasing power of the Alliance members to disrupt and change the way the school lunch procurement system works in America.

About Urban School Food Alliance
The Urban School Food Alliance (USFA) is a collaborative of the largest school districts in the United States, committed to improving the quality of food served in schools and increasing access to healthy, delicious meals for all students. Founded in 2012, USFA supports sustainable and equitable school food systems that support the health and well-being of students. To learn more, visit www.urbanschoolfoodalliance.org.


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