I was asked: What potential invitees, templates for interactive activities, and types of foods to offer during a taste testing.
Well let me jump right into it.
- KNOW YOUR GOALS. Before doing a taste test, establish a few goals that are easy to communicate. Are you implementing a taste test program to expand children’s food choices? Promote or introduce local foods? Encourage healthier snack or lunch choices brought from home?
Yogurt shop Sandwich shop Pizza shop Bakeries Schools
Libraries Churches Parks Rec Centers Farm sites
Really just about any specialty shop will jump on this opportunity!
Here’s a great timeline I grabbed from the DOE
Pick two or three items you are considering for a taste test. Poll some of your school’s students, administrators, teachers, school nurse and parents. Ask them which they would like to sample. The school community will take a greater interest if they are part of the planning.-Ruethers
3. Food Selection and Safety- This is a big one.
— Make sure your packaging is professionally done, and meets all federal, state and local labeling laws. To learn more about these, go to http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/label.html.
— You have to be especially careful when listing your ingredients — too much detail and you’ve given away your recipe, too little and you haven’t sufficiently warned people with food allergies (for help with disclosure laws regarding the most common allergens, go to http://www.foodallergy.org/advocacy/labeling.html).
— Make sure to state clearly, both on the label and verbally to each taster, if there are any ingredients (such as peanuts or gluten) that you know a significant number of people in your community are allergic to.
Most attendees at street fairs and church functions won’t sign liability releases, but you can give each taster a one-page flyer about your products (perhaps with a coupon toward a future purchase) that contains all of your liability disclaimers and warnings; and if you do not know the Heimlich maneuver, make sure there is someone nearby who does (please don’t laugh — when people are eating and giving you verbal feedback at the same time there is a greater than usual choking risk).
4. Getting Help This could be the most challenging part. but it can be done! Need ideas? See here!
BONUS TIPS: The Invite-
Chili cook off
You are invited to put your culinary skills to the test
at John and Jill’s first annual chili cook off.
You think you have the winning recipe to beat your fellow contestants?
Chili will be judged on spiciness, flavor and originality
in a blind taste test.
Prizes awarded for first, second and third place.
Bring the heat and come hungry.
Destined to become a tradition.
Date and time
PROMOTIONS & MARKETING- MAKE THE TASTE TESTS FUN AND INVITING
In addition to making sure your food samples are tasty and appealing, think creatively about other ways you can make the overall taste test experience fun. This way, students will be likely to eat better.
- Place signs and posters throughout the school and at the cafeteria entrance. This will generate interest in the taste test.
- Use posters and balloons to make the taste test visually appealing.
- Play music as part of the promotion to generate excitement.
- Include games related to the foods being served: play “Match the Grain Game” (asking students to look at whole grains in their original form and see if they can identify them), or play the “Mystery Game” (placing fresh fruits and vegetables in a paper bag and asking students to identify them by touch).
- Ask servers to wear costumes or dress in the color of the day (based on the color of the food you’re serving). This can be especially fun if you’ve recruited the principal to be one of the servers!
- Give away gifts and prizes. Stickers with healthy food messages and age-appropriate key chains, pencils and other school supplies are fun for younger and older kids alike.
REINFORCE MESSAGES ABOUT MAKING BETTER FOOD CHOICES.
Take advantage of the taste test as a time to communicate core messages about the featured foods, especially their health benefits.
- Place decorative, informational posters in the doorway of the cafeteria on a taste test day.
- Make your messages to students short, appealing — and age-appropriate. Support what students just learned at your taste test about eating better.
- Distribute stickers, raffle tickets or other promotional items along with the food — and make sure that the promotional items also communicate key health messages.
- Place table tents with nutrition education messages about the featured food group and its health benefits.
SERVE GOOD-SIZED SAMPLES — AND MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY TO GO AROUND
No one like small samples. Three ounces of a new beverage will be a bigger hit than just one ounce of the drink, while a quarter of a sandwich will give kids a better chance to get a sense of the food than just one bite.
The Score Card
Participant 1 I tried It I Liked It I’ll Eat It Again
After it’s over, follow up! It’s the one thing you can do to build a strategic foundation for a smooth sailing round two- three and so on. Now relax! You’re gonna have a great time! Have fun and let me know how it goes !!!!!
Kelle, QC Supermom