BURRILLVILLE – Burrillville parents and students can now access menus with nutritional information on upcoming meals at the town’s public schools through the new food service provider that took over for Aramark at the start of the school year.
Chartwells, a division of Compass Group USA, Inc., utilizes a mobile app, Nutrislice, which is available for free on Apple and Android devices. The application not only shows calorie and carb count information, but can also be used to ensure students with allergies steer clear of offending meals.
“It’s a wonderful tool to have,” said Food Service Director Shana DiPetrillo.
DiPetrillo, who was hired for the job in August, is also heading the food service program in Smithfield schools.
The town followed suit with the Rhode Island Department of Education in choosing the company. RIDE put out an RFP for a single, statewide, school service program contract earlier this year and Chartwells won the three year contract. School districts had the choice of opting in or selecting a food service provider on their own.
“Chartwells was awarded the statewide bid,” explained Supt. Michael Sollitto. “That is why they replaced Aramark in Burrillville.”
The new company has retained much of the old food service staff hired through Aramark, the group that ran the district’s lunch program from 2008 through the 2017/2018 school year. Prior to 2008, the Burrillville School Department operated their own nutrition service.
“We’re really excited about the new company that has come in,” said Dipetrillo while introducing herself to the School Committee at a meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 11. “I find the quality of the food is better, fresher. The presentation was much better.”
“Most of the lunch ladies you’ve had in previous years have stayed with us,” noted Dipetrillo.
Menus are uploaded to the Nutrislice application a month at a time about a week in advance, and show information on common allergens including gluten, soy and lactose, automatically drawing a red line through any upcoming meals a child should not eat.
“It’s a great resource not only for students and parents but also nurses in the schools,” said Dipetrillo.
Dipetrillo said she plans to continue adapting monthly meal choices according to her customers’ preferences.
“Feedback from the students is going to be a big part of how I run the program,” she said.
According to RIDE, the program is designed to improve the nutrition and health of all students. Participating districts pick up any related costs, but at least in Burrillville, the change is not expected to come with an increase in meal prices.
The district’s contract with Chartwells is for one-year ,with an option to renew for two additional years. Menus can be found at bsd-ri.nutrislice.com/menu.