A dip in calorie content has also brought a dip in sales to the Deja Brew coffee shop during the first quarter at Fremont High School.
Matt Burg, a business teacher at FHS and the faculty sponsor of Deja Brew, said that the coffee shop is required to follow the same Smart Snacks guidelines the cafeteria and vending machines are required to follow.
According to Nebraska standards, as outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture, all snack foods and beverages sold in elementary, middle and high schools, are required to provide more nutritional value.
As a result, Burg said the Deja Brew coffee shop had to revamp its menu by limiting the sugar, fat, sodium and calorie content in all of its products.
“We had to switch to sugar-free hot chocolate and cappuccino,” Burg said. “Our iced coffees now are made with almond milk and sugar-free syrups. We no longer sell regular soda and we no longer sell donuts on Fridays.”
Those weren’t the only changes that had to be made to the Deja Brew menu at the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year Burg said.
“We can’t sell students our large sizes anymore,” Burg said. “So, instead of calling our sizes large and small, we call them student and teacher sizes. For food, we can only sell USDA items that have been approved for sale in schools (like reduced fat chips and whole-grain Pop-Tarts).”
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In order to prepare for these changes, Burg said he had his Entrepreneur class (last spring) totally overhaul the Deja Brew menu for this school year.
“This was a good experience for our students,” Burg said. “They were forced to deal with an external situation that was out of their control and make the proper adjustments to our menu. I do think the Smart Snack rules are good in theory; however, in our situation, when I see kids walking in with drinks from Starbuck’s or Scooter’s, it seems to really defeat the purpose.”
Even though Deja Brew’s sales have dropped 16-percent this year (as compared to this time in 2018), Burg said he’s not discouraged.
“Our sales have been slightly less than last year over the same time period,” Burg said, “but I think that can be a bit misleading. Last year our numbers at this time were probably a bit inflated due to the ‘new’ effect of the business.”
Despite all the changes that the students who operate the Deja Brew coffee shop at FHS have had to deal with at the beginning of the school year, junior Alex Lamme, who has worked at Deja Brew for two years, said she’s optimistic about the future.
“I think the new snack and drink changes won’t slow down our business because we have new healthier options, such as almond milk and cereal bars,” Lamme said. “We hope to keep coming up with new flavors and drinks to keep our customers happy and content. We are always finding ways to better Deja Brew.”