SFE partners with district communities
to promote healthy lives
SFE partners with district communities to promote healthy lives
SFE’s goal is to become an integral part of your community, encouraging wellness and supporting you in what matters most to you and your district.
Our community partnerships include:
- Career Fairs and development alliances
- Student achievement recognition
- Nutrition Advisory Boards
- Culinary classes
- Local business events and fundraising
- Local sustainability services
- Local farm partnerships
- Commitment to the use of 20%+ plant-based foods in partnership with the U.S. Humane Society
- Onsite student garden and composting
- Wellness committees
- Head start programs
SFE works to promote a healthy planet
At SFE, we support sustainability in a number of ways, including:
- Utilizing local vendors to reduce carbon footprint
- Minimizing food waste through batch cooking and by serving meals kids love to eat
- Supporting local farmers and growers through responsible sourcing practices
- Reducing the energy and costs associated with food processing by providing more fresh-from-scratch meals
- Sponsoring K-12 student sustainability gardens and “Garden Club” programs
- Presenting our district clients with multiple tray and plate options, including compostable choices
Animal Welfare Initiative
SFE responsibly sources meat-based proteins
Working in coordination with the Humane Society of the United States, SFE is actively improving the sourcing of our meat-based proteins to better protect animal welfare.
Our animal welfare initiatives include:
- Eggs: We are committed to switching all of our shell and liquid eggs to cage-free by the end of the 2023/24 school year. In 2022, we switched all all shell eggs to cage free. We continue to work with our suppliers, who were greatly impacted by egg shortages in the last year, to identify opportunities to transition liquid eggs and eggs used as ingredients to cage-free.
- Pork: We targeted to move our pork supply to group sow housing without the use of gestation crates by the 2022/23 school year. As a first step, in 2022, we converted 40% of our pork procurement to reduced crated systems known as “group housing.” We are continuing to work with our suppliers to identify appropriate producers who source pork from operations that don’t confine pigs in gestation crates as we continue to work towards this goal. Our updated target has us working towards reduced crating systems for our full pork supply by the end of the 2024 school year.
- Veal: As aligned with the American Veal Association’s 2007 resolution on animal welfare, we eliminated veal produced in veal crates from our supply chain in 2015.
- Dairy / Beef: We are working to address the issues of pain relief and potentially eliminating product produced where de-horning, tail docking and or castration are practiced. The dairy industry’s own trade association and medical association agree that tail docking should be eliminated and has set a timeline for producers. De-horning is a procedure that common-sense and science show should be done with pain relief, and the use of breeds without horns could eliminate the issue entirely. Lastly, science shows that castration should be done with pain relief.
- Poultry: We continue to work with our producers and the Humane Society to address the welfare problems associated with the fast growth of broiler chickens and turkeys. We remain committed to keeping our promise to source chickens from operations that meet the standards of the Better Chicken Commitment (BCC). We continue to work towards compliance in four components: enrichments and space per bird by the end of 2024. In 2023, 33% of poultry now meets space-per-bird requirements, 100% meet natural light and darkness and 100% meet friable litter for indoor flooring requirements. We continue to work with our suppliers to address healthier breeds and slaughter practices. As of 2023, 12% of birds are processed with controlled atmosphere stunning.
- Plant Based Initiative: SFE has rapidly set itself apart as the leader in K-12 Child Nutrition. While a number of food service providers have supported meat reduction efforts, SFE recognizes that we are the leader in improving environmental sustainability and student health. SFE will continue to serve meat, eggs, and dairy, and these products will be part of our nation’s diet now and into the future. At the same time, SFE will set ourselves apart by making, serving and educating about plant-based meals, an integral part of our core beliefs and values. We want to increase our plant-based offerings by 10% by the end of 2024. Our Fresh Local Harvest program is our responsible action to positively impact the environment, student health, animal welfare and our company’s core values. In an effort to increase our plant-based menu offerings, SFE has partnered with Humane Society of the United States to promote Plant Based Meals and Education. In addition, we actively seek out collaboration with innovative companies and culinary leaders that are aligned with our goals to provide increasingly higher percentages of plant-based options to our students. Finally, our strategic partnerships with plant-based food vendors will provide additional plant-based menu items with Non-GMO protein sources. We are very proud of the partnership we have with our students and act upon the guidance they provide to formulate our menus.
- Policy Regarding Label Censorship Legislation: SFE understands that there are some policy initiatives underway that attempt to criminalize food companies for labeling plant-based foods using terms typically applied to animal proteins like veggie burger, almond milk, Beyond Meat, Impossible Burger and other common descriptors. These measures could also impact the emerging “clean meat” sector. SFE opposes, on principle, these types of label censorship regulations. We believe in a free and open marketplace and that fair competition is what makes the market work. These types of policies do not serve consumers and should not become law.
SFE strengthens communities
From donating time and financial support that nourishes young dreams to stocking holiday food banks for families in need, SFE believes in giving back to the communities we serve.
Our giving back efforts include:
- Partnering with local food banks whenever possible
- Big Brothers Big Sisters sponsorship
- Make-A-Wish sponsorship
- Kaity’s Way sponsorship
- District culinary scholarships
- Support of local education foundations
Community awards and grants across our districts have included:
ACE (Arizona Corporate Excellence) Award – Winner in both the “50 Fastest Growing Companies” and “Most Productive Privately-Held Companies” categories
No Kid Hungry Award
Whole Kids Foundation Award (for sustainable garden projects)
Excellence in Summer Meals Award (gold level sponsor)
Turnip the Beet Award (USDA and FNS sponsored)
Fuel up to Play Award
DESE Equipment Grant
Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom Award
St. Louis Dairy Counsel Grant
Dollars for Dairy Award
Feeding Texas Grant ($2.6mm toward covering negative balances for students)
TDA Best of the Bunch Awards (for best local produce)
Farm Fresh Challenge Award
Local product challenge awards
Health Fair competitions
Jump with Jill Grant
Healthy School Hero Award
Texas Farm Fresh Challenge
Dairy Dollars by Dairy Max