School lunch vendor plans Kenner facility, touts healthier options


Revolution Foods, an Oakland, Calif.-based school food and nutrition education company, will open a culinary center in Kenner, a move that education leaders hope infuses healthier food options into New Orleans-area school cafeterias.

The company, which touts its specialty as making healthy, affordable meals for students nationwide, plans to have the facility up and running by the beginning of the school year. It will hire more than 50 employees at the local site.

Charter schools in Orleans Parish have been the biggest proponents for bringing healthier lunch options into schools. Complex federal guidelines force most to obtain their food services through the Recovery School District, whose vendors are required to meet government nutrition standards.

But school administrators say the district fails to offer menus that feature the fresh vegetables, fruits and handmade dishes they want.

A number of RSD charters, led by social entrepreneurship accelerator Propeller, set up their own school food authority this year and intend to seek alternate school lunch vendors for the 2012-13 school year.

In a March interview with CityBusiness, Revolution Foods CEO Kristin Richmond said the company was waiting for charters to have the freedom to hire their own vendors before locating a facility in New Orleans. The company also received assistance from the Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission and Greater New Orleans Inc., which provided regional demographic, workforce and job recruitment data and assisted with permitting and licensing.

Revolution Foods employs about 800 people nationwide. The company operates in eight states and Washington, D.C.