Reinventing School Lunches During a Pandemic


SoCal Schools are Implementing Contacless Lunch Programs

Now that classes are in session, school lunches as we know them will never be the same due to the threat of COVID-19. Instead of eating in crowded cafeterias with hands reaching for food from the lunch line, students will likely be eating lunch in their classrooms or on the yard, six feet apart once in-person learning resumes. In some counties in Southern California, schools are currently submitting waivers so they can open schools ASAP and bring the kids back into the classroom.

Social distancing measures will likely eliminate the Cafeteria School Experience.

Social distancing measures will likely eliminate the Cafeteria School Experience.

As a result, schools are revamping their usual services and considering new approaches. While public school districts in Southern California are negotiating contracts with their respective unions, private and charter schools are working with companies that are innovating new solutions to the cafeteria lunch problem and setting an excellent model for safety.

Choicelunch, a school lunch company that has been delivering school lunches for nearly  20 years, is working with more than 100 private and charter schools throughout Southern California to create a contactless school lunch program that is not only safe from COVID, but allows parents to take full-control of their children’s lunch, ensuring it’s fresh, nutritious and delivered to their children every day.


It’s no surprise that many parents in Los Angeles care about the quality and type of food their children consume. When their children return to class, it is important that not only are their lunches fresh and nutritious, but also safe from transmitting the virus.

At schools throughout the region, students will have hot lunches, made to order, individually packaged, labeled by name, and delivered directly to children’s classrooms where they will, likely, be eaten at their desks. Parents will have access to a new online ordering program and mobile app, called A La Carte that gives them greater control over their children’s nutrition.

Parents sign up for the app and choose from a selection of up to 16 daily entrée, side dish and drink options made with fresh ingredients that can be tailored to their children’s tastes and nutritional needs, like sushi, salad, sandwiches or hot items. The the food is 100% nut-free, features antibiotic-free meats, and is void of partially hydrogenated oils, added nitrates/nitrites, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.

Parents have full control and can even filter the menu to show entrees and sides that meet their student’s dietary preferences and food allergies. Without any need to spend a lot of time figuring out lunch, parents have the flexibility to order lunches days or weeks in advance and skip when lunches are unnecessary.

Each student’s lunch is individually packaged with everything they need in the bag—entrees, sides, napkins, utensils, condiments, and drinks, so no one else can handle these items and the schools can limit physical interaction. The company follows strict CDC protocols to provide safe delivery and flexible distribution without sacrificing the convenience and quality. Everyday Choicelunch delivers students’ meals to their schools and makes it possible for the school to easily deliver lunches directly to the student’s classroom.

“The mission of improving food for kids is personal, as I am a parent and care deeply about the quality of food my children consume—and the safety that is required in making and delivering it during these unprecedented times. With the way COVID-19 is spreading, the less contact others have with the children’s meals, the better,” said Justin Gagnon, the CEO and cofounder of Choicelunch. “For children and parents who are anticipating when their children have to go back to school after the COVID closures, eliminating stress around their children’s lunchtime safety does a lot to put their mind at ease. Private and nimble charter schools will likely be the first to open and have solid solutions in place for safety. This lunch program is definitely a good model for what schools around the state should be considering and parents might wish to suggest.”

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