About Those Lunches

Summit Director Dan McCarthyOne of the questions I received from prior jamboree leaders attending Shakedown was, “Why can’t we go back to kiosk lunches like we had at Fort A.P. Hill?” (For those of you unfamiliar with the kiosk lunch, it was typically a packaged sandwich with condiments, a piece of fruit, and a drink.) Here’s why:

Kiosk lunches require refrigeration until they are ready to be consumed (i.e., their contents are perishable). In order for the kiosk model to work, you must position refrigerated containers at various locations and predict the number of Scouts/Scouters who will want to draw their lunch at each location. Not surprisingly, that turns out to be an impossible task; so, at Fort A.P. Hill, we would find ourselves with excess lunches at some sites and out of lunches at others. That left us with two problems: Scouts with no lunch, and excess waste despite our best efforts to reposition lunches “on the fly.”

If this was a challenge at Fort A.P. Hill, where we operated in a relatively flat area under 3,000 acres in size, you can imagine what it would be like on mountainous terrain over twice the size at the Summit. It became apparent the only viable solution was to go to what’s called a “shelf stable” (nonperishable) meal that Scouts/Scouters can pick up at breakfast, carry with them, and eat wherever they happen to be whenever they choose to do so.

With that decision made, what we are now working on is refining the menu. We did a sample test prior to Shakedown that resulted in significant reductions in sodium, sugar and fat content in our menu items. As a result of Shakedown feedback, we’ll be looking to refine our menu of shelf-stable items even further. Our objective is to ensure we provide a healthy meal with the greatest acceptability possible while ensuring our Scouts/Scouters are safe from foodborne illness.

We’ll be unveiling our full menu of shelf-stable lunches at the 2013 National Jamboree next year. See you then!