Early this year, we received our CN label certification(opens in a new tab) and have since started rolling out our delicious, meaty meat made from plants to schools nationwide. To help more K-12 schools and universities add Impossible™ Burger to their menu, we’re putting together a step-by-step launch guide to make things as easy as possible.
Read our blog to learn how Lisa Griffin, Director of Child Nutrition at Union Public School District, successfully launched (and ran out of!) Impossible™ menu items
Step 1: Identify what works with your menu
Lisa and her team identified popular menu items that could be easily replaced with Impossible Burger, a 1:1 substitute for ground beef. They decided to start with an Impossible Burger and Impossible™ Taco Salad, but also explored Impossible™ Tacos, Impossible™ Spaghetti and Impossible™ Taco Soup.
Once they had an idea of what they could build, they requested a sample from one of their brokers so her culinary team could work with the product. Impossible™ products are carried by most foodservice distributors, so reach out to yours to request a free sample.
If your distributor doesn’t carry Impossible products, please reach out to [email protected] for more help.
Step 2: Plan out your build
After identifying which menu items to start with, Lisa used the CN label to determine how much product would need to be in a serving. Schools in Lisa's district are required to give K-8 students at least a 1.5 ounce meat equivalent, or roughly 2.25 ounces of Impossible Burger. For High School students, they require a 2 ounce meat/meat equivalent, which in Impossible Burger is a 3 ounce portion.
Once you know how much product is needed per portion, multiply that number by the total number of students you'll be serving.
Step 3: Let your culinary team experiment!
Union School District’s chef prepared recipes using Impossible Burger, then the team tasted the dishes and gave feedback for any changes in flavors, textures, etc. After that initial tasting, they had a group of students taste test the new recipes and give their feedback via a survey form so their responses could be recorded.
After making final adjustments, they put the students’ favorite dishes on the menu.
Step 4: Educate your staff
Pre-launch training comes next. Managers and cooks were taught how to properly cook the Impossible™ creations, and employees need to be educated on the value of serving plant-based entrees to students. Key talking points can include health benefits, the fact that Impossible products are already served in fast food places where kids go to eat and the environmental impact generated.
Step 5: Tell the students about your new Impossible™ dishes
Promotion is key to get staff and students excited. Impossible Foods provides free materials like posters, flags and information cards that you can display in the cafeteria. It’s also important to highlight your new menu item on your website, with digital signage and menus to drive awareness and let kids and parents know there are new options.
It’s also a good idea to offer Impossible menu items next to their meat counterparts so children have options. This is a good way to introduce them to plant-based meat and let them try it out for themselves. One school district who offered Impossible Burger on the menu item actually ran out of product before lunch was over -- that’s never happened before.
Union District’s Impossible Burger menu item was so popular that they ran out of product -- that’s never happened before.
Check out our free posters, flags and informational materials here(opens in a new tab)
Step 6: Get student feedback
Lisa visited schools on the days Impossible products were on the menu to get student feedback. In addition to gathering positive responses about how much the students love the products, she also noted adjustments and changes requested. This gave her better insights for future launches while allowing her to provide the most delicious, nutritious and sustainable options for students. It’s a win win!