ANC19 Recap: 6 Dietitian-Approved Products to Try in Your Cafeteria

ANC19 2019 Recap: 6 Dietitian-Approved Products to Try in Your Cafeteria Ticket Stub on Blue Background

The School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference for 2019, or ANC19, is a great place to discover new and interesting products for your nutrition program. And this year’s conference was no exception.

The selection in the exhibit hall featured multiple products that cater to students with special dietary needs or food allergies. There was also a huge range of easy-to-serve options for traditional and non-traditional cafeteria foods.

For those couldn’t attend ANC19, we’ve put together a list of the best merchandise we found in at the St. Louis conference this year.

Seed Butters

While most who work in school nutrition have heard of sun butter, watermelon seed or pumpkin seed butters are more uncommon.

Both products are nut-free and have a creamy, slightly sweet taste that is similar to almond butter. Seed butters can be used as an alternative for peanut or almond butter in just about any recipe.

These tasty alternatives will likely continue to grow in popularity as schools remove tree nuts and peanuts from their menus. Seed butters like the ones from 88 Acres are worth checking out.

Plant-Based Sauces

Seed butters weren’t the only dietary alternatives featured at ANC19. Plant-based sauces from the company Plant-Based Pantry are vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free. This ticks multiple boxes for those students with allergies or other dietary needs.

Most of the sauces are potato or cauliflower based. With sauce flavors like queso and alfredo, kids who would usually have to turn down pasta can now enjoy!

These sauces are great for vegetarian or vegan students and students with dairy or soy allergies. They could also serve as a lower fat and sodium option that you could introduce to your cafeteria menu.

Allergy-Free Cart

This colorful cart was created to be used as an allergen-free product preparation and serving surface.

One of the barriers to students with allergies eating in a school cafeteria is the fear of cross-contamination. This cart can be used as a table to prepare allergy-free items. It can also be used as a serving table to keep allergen-free items away from foods served on the line. 

Starkist Creations

Most school menus don’t offer tuna or salmon as an option because it’s simply not a big hit with students. 

At ANC19, StarKist shared their line of fish packs in exciting flavors such as mango chipotle and lemon dill. The fun and exciting flavors encourage students to try something new and experiment with different foods. 

There are many health benefits to eating fish that lunchrooms should take advantage of. Salmon and tuna are both excellent sources of Vitamin D. These are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of heart disease and increases brain function.

As an added bonus, many of these products come from wild-caught fish, which have higher nutritional values than farm-raised.

Two-Ounce Cereals

Trying to find a two-ounce cereal to serve students for breakfast in high school can be a challenge. Offering two bowls of one-ounce cereal to students is an awkward way to meet guidelines. It can also be confusing to your cafeteria staff on top of increasing waste. 

These two-ounce bowls found at ANC19 are an easy grab-and-go breakfast for students that meet meal requirements and prevent serving size confusion.

Johnny Pops

Johnny Pops is not a new product, but their vision is something to be admired. Plus, their popsicles are delicious. 

Johnny Pops have only 10 grams of sugar and an incredibly short ingredient list. Each pop includes blended fruit, milk, a little sugar, and salt- no preservatives or additives.

These pops are both a sweet and healthy treat. Also each pop stick has an act of kindness printed on it to brighten your students’ day. 


There were thousands of exciting products at ANC19; the items featured in this post were just some of the highlights. If you get the chance to attend ANC this coming year, we highly recommend you attend. 

We can’t wait to see all the exciting new products next year!

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