Food Processor Benefits for the K-12 Kitchen

July 22, 2022 by Grace Strotman

Food Processor, Food Prep, K12

With time and staff at a premium in most K-12 kitchens, it’s important to look for ways to expedite food preparation for school cafeterias. While it may be tempting to turn to pre-processed packaged food as a solution, it can lack in quality and is often more expensive in the long-term.

Investing in a heavy-duty commercial food processor to use for prepping fruits and vegetables can provide efficiencies and several other benefits.

Labor, time and cost savings

The upfront cost of a food processor, like the FP150 continuous-feed model commonly used for prepping K-12 meals, may seem significant. However, the return on investment (ROI) for this piece of food preparation equipment is quite fast, especially after factoring in time, labor and waste. This machine can quickly process fruits and vegetables with minimal prep work.

For example, in a kitchen that prepares vegetables for a salad bar for K-12 lunches, this food processor can slice 40 pounds of cucumber (4 mm), shred 20 pounds of carrots (6 mm) and dice 40 pounds of tomatoes (10 mm) daily. Based on processing five days a week, 150 days a year at a staff member’s $15 hourly wage, there are large productivity gains to be made. In this case, the savings is 14 hours a week in total food prep time. Speeding up food processing allows staff to address other tasks, which is particularly beneficial if there are staff shortages.

Also, whole produce can be held in the cooler for longer periods of time than pre-packaged produce. This longer shelf helps K-12 kitchens save money, as staff can process fruits and vegetables as needed and reduce waste.

Freshness and nutrition

Due to a food processor’s speed, K-12 staff can prepare produce the morning of service for greater freshness, rather than preparing fruits and vegetables in advance by hand. Also, compared to pre-packaged produce, fresh produce lasts longer, tastes better and offers greater nutrition, specifically, vitamins A, C and E. In pre-packaged foods, these vitamins are lost faster so they require added preservatives.

Variety, versatility and consistency

K-12 staff have an opportunity to provide variety with freshly processed foods. Food processors offer the versatility to change up menu items. Not only can they slice and dice fruits and vegetables, but they also have blades to crimp and julienne fruits and vegetables. K-12 staff can also use food processors for grating hard cheeses and nuts for topping salads. Each of the cutting tools for continuous-feed food processors offer greater consistency compared to cutting produce by hand.

Making the investment

For K-12 staff asking, “Why use a food processor?”, the answer is simple: greater efficiency and quality. With the proper training, staff will be able to quickly utilize this food prep equipment to its fullest potential and bring fresh, nutritious food options to students for their K-12 meals — all with a quick payback.


About the Author

Strotman Grace 800x800px 2 Grace Strotman is the marketing & K-12 segment specialist for Hobart – Food Preparation Products. She has been with Hobart since 2020 and is responsible for marketing communications for the full line of Hobart food preparation equipment, with an added focus on the K-12 segment. See all her blogs here.


Latest Posts

Tips for K-12 Foodservice and Scratch Cooking in Schools

April 23, 2024 by Grace Strotman

Due to labor shortages, many K-12 kitchens struggle to provide from-scratch meals to students. Some of these kitchens also may not be designed with the equipment needed to properly support a scratch cooking model. However, there are grants and assistance programs available to support school districts with a move toward school menu planning that incorporates fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins.

Read More

Small Restaurant Equipment for Small Kitchens

March 06, 2024 by Megan Gray

Commercial kitchens come in all sizes, but it’s not uncommon for independent restaurants to have smaller ones. According to Webstaurant, commercial kitchens range from 500 to 2,000 square feet with anything less than 500 square feet considered small. That space comes with certain advantages and disadvantages.

Read More

School District Relies on Hobart for From-Scratch Meals

November 06, 2023 by Grace Strotman

At Victor Central School District, they have a saying: “Fresh is Best” — and they lead by example for their pre-K to twelfth grade students. Their food service program consists of 25% of from-scratch menu items with ingredients sourced from local farms, with many of those being served in the high school cafeteria. They have the goal of reaching 40% by the end of the school year and expanding more scratch cooked meals to lower grades.

Read More

Q&A: Food Safety and Operator Assurance

September 15, 2023 by Megan Gray

When prepping fruits, vegetables or meats or mixing ingredients, food safety is a top priority. Food processors, mixers, meat slicers, mixer-grinders and saws require thorough cleaning and sanitizing on a regular basis to minimize the risk of cross contamination and foodborne illness. For the best results, it’s important to have equipment with features that simplify the process.

Read More

5 Pieces of Food Prep Equipment To Make Your Life Easier

August 14, 2023 by Megan Gray

You know what they say: time is money — and kitchen prep can take a lot of time. With labor being a challenge in today’s restaurants but with business booming, the key to success is finding equipment that can speed up prep time. Here are five types of equipment that can make your life easier.

Read More