Spaghetti tacoWhat do spaghetti tacos and technology have to do with each other?

When it comes to the eating preferences of today’s K-12 students, it’s more than you might think. Let me explain.

Today’s students fall into the Generation Z demographic. In general, kids of this generation:
  • Are used to cultural diversity ― They’ve grown up with exposure to a wide variety of cultures. At the same time, fusion foods ― the combination of various forms and elements of different culinary traditions ― have become a major trend worldwide. Food mashups like ramen burgers, quesadilla pizzas and, yes, spaghetti tacos, are all the rage ― especially with Generation Z.
  • Like technology that empowers them to create ― They like to create, share, and read content on their mobile devices.
  • Are visually-oriented ― They’re the “show me, don’t tell me” generation, preferring visuals rather than text.

The secret to addressing the eating preferences of today’s K-12 students and keeping them eating in your school cafeteria is making sure you’re working at the intersection of creative foods and technology.

Three ways to incorporate this approach into your school meal program:

1. Test innovative menu items

Get creative with fusion foods, developing meals that students will want to snap pictures of and share with their friends on Instagram. Test them out, and then add the most popular ones to your regular menu rotation. Your digital menu software should allow you to easily override the menu cycle for one or more days to promote special menu items. In fact, Nutrislice client Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD did just that: They offered spaghetti tacos as a special menu item and found them to be so popular that the meal is now a regular item on the school lunch menu.

One week of menu options featuring Spaghetti TacosOrdering-Mobile-Food Item with ordering options-K12


2. Let students customize their meals

Allow students to build their own sandwiches, salads, burgers, and more through a highly graphical, interactive, and mobile-friendly interface. This approach appeals to the visual, creative, and tech-oriented nature of today’s students.

Keeping students eating in your school cafeteria comes down to understanding and addressing the eating preferences of today’s K-12 students. With some creative menu options and a tech-powered menu, you’ll be well on your way to building a school meal program today’s students simply can’t resist.


3. Use high-quality images

One of the best ways to capture the attention of Generation Z’s visual nature is to use high-quality food images. Of course, not everyone has an on-staff photographer or the budget to hire someone to take professional photos of every food item on the menu. You can address this challenge by choosing digital menu software that offers a library of professional, high-quality images for the more common items on your menu — such as fruit or vegetables. Then, you can take your own pictures of your unique food items.

Carrots, cucumbers, and cron