Milk - Bulk!
Milk procurement is traditionally one of the least-examined elements of school food. For some districts, there may only be one dairy supplier, drastically reducing the serving options and flexibility. While this is highly dependent on geographic location, we strongly encourage districts to consider bulk milk service.
- Proven solution: bulk milk is a common feature in many institutional service environments, like colleges and hospitals. The production of bulk milk units is common in the dairy industry. So far, only a handful of K-12 districts have embraced bulk milk, but have already seen great results.
- Lower cost & reduced waste: self-service allows the students to choose their own amount, rather than drinking half of a container and discarding the rest.
- Positive environmental benefit: bulk milk uses far less packaging and reduces empty shipping space, which is also quite attractive for districts interested in sustainable environmental practices.
- Higher participation: compared to carton or plastic bottles, bulk milk tastes better and can be served much colder. Students love ice-cold milk, and will often drink more when served colder options.
- Organic options: serving bulk milk allows the district to consider organic milk, which many parents prioritize at home. Organic bulk milk in some markets is competitive with conventional carton milk per 8-ounce cost.
You might ask: “is it allowable for a student to take fewer than 8 ounces?” Yes—provided that the student has a complete meal at the point when they serve themselves milk. If they do not have a complete meal, the staff person working the POS must make sure that the students serve themselves a full cup.
Other considerations for bulk milk service include the dispenser and cups. The dispensing units are usually under $3,000 for a two-spout dispenser, but some milk distributors provide a dispenser as part of their service. Reusable cups are the preferred serving method with bulk service, but it is still cost-effective with disposable cups—though the environmental impact savings are reduced. Either way, the cup must be 9 ounces to ensure that the student can serve themselves 8 ounces and have room at the top to prevent spills.
Spills? Remarkably spills are not an issue, even with younger grades. You can adjust the counter height for the elementary students, and students will be very excited to serve themselves.
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