Urgent Chocolate Milk Update

by Jennifer L. ’18 and Charlie H. ’21, Policy Board Representatives

It is pretty hard to miss the protests, letters, and odes to and for chocolate milk and white rice in the cafeteria. As members of Policy Board, we have not been neglecting and ignoring them, but silently listening, working away, and making dues (hopefully).

First, chocolate milk. Currently, there is no more chocolate milk on Fridays, and sadly there is no expectation for that to change any time soon. Bon Appetit is unable to provide students with regular chocolate milk availability, for several legitimate and unchangeable reasons:

1) Minimum Purchasing

  • The minimum purchase from Bon Appetit’s chocolate milk vendor is around 9 gallons. However, OES consumes less than half of this amount on a weekly basis.

2) Consumption rate plummeted middle of last year

  • Because the shelf life of chocolate milk is “terrible,” the cafeteria ended up throwing out gallons and gallons of chocolate milk out every week, because students weren’t drinking it as much anymore. In an attempt to not waste food and money, they stopped the order (Just to get ahead of the questions, Bon Appetit is unable to serve chocolate milk more than one time a week, as it would be only for the upper school and there is not enough transition time between the middle school and upper school lunchtimes to change out the milk machines. Also, these transitions frequently result in food spill and waste being a hazard to employees and students).

3)  The inability to change vendors

  • Since OES Bon Appetit is just one of the many branches of the full food-service management (that operates in more than 33 states), Kelly and the wonderful staff who serve us every day don’t have any power over which vendors can stock OES with a personal order of chocolate milk.

We’d like to debunk the rumor that Bon Appetit is imposing a mysterious and unknown health food agenda behind our backs. The reasons listed above are legitimate and beyond our control.

However, though we won’t have a rich, delicious, and chocolatey drink to indulge in EVERY  Friday, we will have the chance to enjoy our favorite beverage once in a while:

  1. Chocolate milk will be offered OCCASIONALLY at special events like at Good V18es lunches or make a pint-sized appearance on 10 AM snack carts (served on a first come, first serve basis)
  2. There is also talk about putting it in the drinks vending machines if enthusiasts are inclined to advocate for their chocolate milk and posterity’s more.

If you have a strong opinion about which one of these^^ options, please voice your opinion here.

Second, the beloved white rice, has been PARTIALLY substituted with brown rice. Some reasons for this change include…

  1. White rice is a processed food. White rice is not whole grain, like brown rice. As an educational institution, we are required to provide a certain amount of whole grains instead of “processed” and “enriched,” according to the USDA.
  2. White rice is also TWICE as expensive as the brown rice from Bon Appetit’s provider, so it is much more cost effective to purchase and not waste brown rice.

Some dissenting opinions also might point out the occasional deficiency of rice as they wait in line. However, the machines in the kitchen only take in four pounds of rice at a time, so there is an equipment struggle. Now add the very small amount of time the cafeteria has between MS and US lunch into the equation, it is a difficult task to continuously pump in and out rice for three hours straight.

The cafeteria has not taken anything even CLOSE to an anti-white rice stance, but simply provides white rice when it sees it is menu appropriate.

Kelly also excitedly encouraged and reemphasized how much she wants input from the students on different menu items. Just keep in mind if your suggestion is not immediately served the next day or ever, do not fret. It is most likely the team found an issue in the budget OES Bon Appetit has been given by the school, potential waste and compost, ability to replicate the same meal across three divisions, vegan/vegetarian/gluten free/dairy-free derivatives of the meal, or something else.

Please come to the open seat on Policy Board every Thursdays or email us with suggestions on what to do with white rice and chocolate milk if you are still unsatisfied.

We are not trying to silence the vocal advocates of chocolate milk and white rice, but simply hope to educate the student body on the bigger picture and the reality of the situation. We have appreciated everyone’s opinions in creating a better experience for all of the student body. We look forward to working on the next questions y’all want answered.