From the Archives

Hood Launches “Breakfast Kit” Program

From Dairy & Ice Cream Field, November 1972.
(Editor’s Note: As new opportunities for school marketing develop, we look back at an idea from America’s oldest processor.)
A school breakfast program that may revolutionize the dairy’s role in feeding needy schoolchildren has been introduced in Massachusetts.
Hood Inc. has created a breakfast package consisting of orange juice and Post cereals. It is being distributed each day in approximately 70 Massachusetts schools.
The “Hood Breakfast Kit” consists of a 1-ounce serving of Post cereal in a Pure-Pak carton; a 4-ounce serving of Hood orange juice (from concentrate) in a Pure-Pak carton; and a utensil kit with a paper napkin, a plastic cereal spoon and a straw, all wrapped together in a poly bag secured with a twist-tie. Milk, which completes the breakfast, is not included because it would need immediate refrigeration and would conflict with the awarding of school bids.
The kit was designed in cooperation with the Ex-Cello-O Corp., the Weyerhaeuser Co., Pure-Pak Operation, the Post Division of General Foods and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Bureau of Nutrition Education and School Food Services.
The Hood breakfast kit comprises a total system for providing a breakfast meal to children in school. As such, it competes with a number of alternative methods of providing meals now being practiced in schools. The current practice ranges from a complete ham-and-egg meal prepared in the school kitchen to meals which include peanut butter and day-old bread purchased by a concerned teacher. A number of food companies are considering the preparation of frozen breakfasts which can be reheated in high-efficiency convection ovens.
The package is assembled in Hood’s Agawam milk plant. This plant was selected because it has the facilities to reconstitute the orange juice. Concentrate is supplied by Hood’s Florida operation. The cereal comes in from Post’s Battle Creek, Mich., plant and is shipped to Agawam from Post’s Dedham, Mass., distribution center.
An ingenious air-cylinder-operated assembly line was put together in Agawam for poly-wrapping the orange juice and cereal. Developers of the system are Bob Morrow, plant superintendent, and Bill Warman, chief engineer. Kits are prepared two days in advance of shipment to the schools. It should be noted that the juice has a 14-day expiration date and the cereals, 90 days.
The kits are packed 24 to a returnable red plastic milk case. Hood has revamped its distribution schedules to the schools involved in the breakfast programs to assure that deliveries are made only about an hour before the kids eat the breakfast. This ensures the freshness of the juice, which is not refrigerated. If all the kits are not used on the day of delivery, they are refrigerated overnight and served the next day.
The Hood breakfast kit is the creation of the company’s sales and marketing organization in a response to a plea for help from Massachusetts school lunch people. The state’s legislature passed a law which, among other things, requires “all public schools which draw their attendance from areas with a high number of needy children … to make school breakfast programs available to children.”
The state board determined that “needy schools” are those with at least 50 percent of their children coming from families who receive, or are qualified to receive, welfare payments. This law also applies to working families of low income level. The ultimate goal is to make breakfasts available to every needy child in the state.
According to Bob Young, Hood’s institutional sales manager, the breakfast program is designed to meet these school requirements: the breakfast had to meet the USDA nutritional requirements and provide variety in the diet; the breakfast had to be available to all schools on a daily basis; the breakfast should be packaged with all components together in a light, reusable shipping container; the breakfast had to be consumed in schools without cooking or serving facilities, and with minimum of labor required; and the breakfast had to meet rigid cost criteria.