This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Cracking the School Lunch Problem

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Debbie Blacher, co-founder of Wholesome Tummies has big dreams for her healthy school lunch delivery business.

While she isn't the first person to come up with the idea of breaking into the $42-billion national school foodservice market with healthier offerings, she does see opportunity in franchising the concept, while at the same time creating a national group of like-minded social entrepreneurs.

Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed over the past 30 years, with one third of American kids either overweight or obese, the former human resources executive says.

First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move initiative in 2010 to combat the childhood obesity problem at the national level, with one leg of the initiative to provide healthy foods in school.

Even with the recent statistics by the CDC citing small improvements in the childhood obesity rate, healthy eating habits at the school-age level must be reinforced. Blacher says her company and others, like Wholesome Tummies, are working to solve that problem by serving fresh, nutritious offerings to students and faculty.

Started in 2007 by two moms who saw a need for healthier food offerings in their kids' schools, the Orlando-headquartered delivery service started franchising in 2010. Today it has 18 locations, serving close to 100 schools, with plans to reach 25 units by the end of the year.

Sales have doubled every year since its founding. Following the 2013-2014 school year, the company expects system-wide revenue to reach $5 million.

"More often than not, you've got parent frustration with the lack of healthy choices," Blacher says. "It's an opportunity for us to come in and really make a difference at the school level." (Blache's former partner Samantha Gotlib has left the company to pursue other interests.)

Eventually, the goal is for Wholesome Tummies to have 250 franchised locations, 2,000 school contracts and system-wide sales of $200 million.

Right now, Wholesome Tummies primarily works with private schools and is starting to expand its reach to charter schools and some public schools. Franchisees contract with schools, and just like with any outsourced school meal, parents opt in to the service and place orders for their kids through its Web site.

The franchisee receives orders and prepares meals fresh each day in a commercial kitchen. Meals are then delivered to school in time for lunch or served right on campus in schools with on-site kitchens.

But entering the school-lunch market isn't easy. Wholesome Tummies is no doubt a small fish in a competitive industry, where large food services corporations like Aramark, Sodexo North America, a division of the France-based conglomerate Sodexo and Chartwells, a division of U.K.-based Compass Group, have big stakes in the public and private K-12 and higher education food service market.

But even amongst smaller companies, Wholesome Tummies is up against a handful of players that have also seen the dollar-sign potential for providing more nutritious and better quality school food.

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs