News and Info

School Food Trends: Vegetarian Meal Options

Dear Michelle and Jamie,

You guys sure know how to get our attention!
The issue of childhood obesity is a top subject in the news today (with obesity now being called a national security risk by DOD) and schools are becoming the subject of a lot of scrutiny. More and more, we are being asked what we can do to help by our customers (School Foodservice Directors) and we have responded.

We have made Major improvements to our line! We have reformulated our classic Lasagna with a firmer, easy to bake noodle, improved the spice pack so there is more flavor in every bite and we have cut the cooking time down to 12 minutes! We have also launched our Lunchwell line of products designed to give you 220 calories per serving, 4g fat, 5g dietary fiber per serving and under 500mg sodium per serving! Delicious was never this healthy!

We are focused on Menu Solutions! What are Menu Solutions? Gage Menu solutions give schools new choices in how they use their government commodities. We have delicious entrees like Lasagna, Santa Fe Pasta, Tetrazzini and our Lunchwell Chicken Pomodoro and Chicken Noodle USA. They are designed to mix in-kitchen with commodities that provide easy to make, consistent and inexpensive (as low as 21 cents/serving for our Lasagna and Santa Fe Pasta, plus the cost of commodities). Our delicious coffee cake mix can be made with commodity applesauce and bonus commodity fruit to get one bread and 3/8 cup fruit.

We have launched our new Gage Veggie Crumbles that “fit” right into our Lasagna and Santa Fe recipes and cut the fat by 50%! Not more than one in 100 have been able to guess that the recipes are now vegetarian! This cuts the fat content by 50% and as part of our launch we are GIVING THEM AWAY with the purchase of our Lasagna and Santa Fe Pasta.

We have a new website. Check it out at! We have lots of resources (like commodity updates, our “yum grid” and all of the nutritional information on our Menu Solutions. We will also run custom nutritionals (and feature you on our website (again!) if you give us any cool new ideas. Thanks for all you are doing to help make our schools healthier and we at Gage Foods (and our FANTASTIC customers!) want to let you know we support that and are already taking a lead role! Take care, Ken.

Ken Hillman
Gage Foods

School Food Trends: Vegetarian Meal Options

This Santa Fe Pasta Soup recipe came from Gale Wood at Rutherford County, TN. Gale and the students liked our Santa Fe Pasta so much that not only did they start menuing it regularly, but Gale also took the our pasta recipe and turned it into a soup recipe...I ate it for lunch last time I went down for a menu care meeting and LOVED IT (but I still like our Menu solution best for schools!!!). Ken

School Food Trends: Vegetarian Meal Options

Kudos to Yadkin County North Carolina for a little Holiday initiative! Kathy Sommers took Gage Coffee Cake and turned it into a special Holiday Treat by adding - Commodity Canned Sweet Potatoes! Please check out the recipe for an exciting NEW Menu Solution! Yadkin is already getting their second order in of Gage Coffee Cake and we can't wait to see what they have in store next.

Take advantage of our Gage "End of the Year Menu Slot Clean up Promotion" to earn extra rebate dollars as well!!!

School Food Trends: Vegetarian Meal Options

Here is a quick listing of Gage Best Sellers and the Commodities that work great with them. YUM!

School Food Trends: Vegetarian Meal Options

A few short years ago the only vegetarian options seen on a lunch line were slices of cheese pizza and French fries. Not so anymore. According to the School Nutrition Association, as many as 67% of schools in the U.S. are making an effort to serve up more Vegetarian options on a regular basis, up from just 22% just five years ago.

Rosalyn Scruggs, Nutrition Education Coordinator of the Little Rock School District in Little Rock, Arkansas, was also looking to make more vegetarian options available this coming school year. However, finding affordable and healthy vegetarian options that fit into their school meal program was proving to be very difficult. That’s where Gage came in.

At Rosalyn’s request, Gage took 3 of their most cost effective, kid-friendly entrees and created new Vegetarian recipe variations that would keep costs low while appealing to vegetarians, flexitarians or semi-vegetarians (when one removes certain types of meats from the diet), selectarians (when one consciously makes food choices to promote overall health and lifestyle), and meat eaters alike. Access Gage’s new recipes below:

Rosalyn and her team tested all three recipe variations on their students over the summer and were happy to report that all were extremely well-received. These Gage products, along with 2 LunchWell items, are being menu-ed and have added variety, lowered their product AND labor costs, and improved consistency across schools.

To read more about School Lunch and Vegetarian Trends, Click on One of the Links Below:

What’s for Lunch? Schools Bring Vegetarian Options to the Table
Source: Today's Dietician

Majority of School Nutrition Programs Now Offer Vegetarian School Lunches
Source: School Nutrition Association

Don't Have a Cow, Mom
Source: Washington Post


Boil Water

Gage Foods Has a New Look!

Gage entrees are a great way to save time and labor in the kitchen as they enable the user to prep, bake, and serve your meal in the same pan. However, it is very important to use boiling water when preparing your entrees to ensure the proper amount of starch is released from the noodles while cooking.

If you do not have the facilities to boil water first, obtaining very hot water (preferably 160 degrees or higher) should achieve the desired effect.

Cooking Tip Contributed by: Sara Brooks, Citrus County Schools, FL

Food Preparation Guide: Entrees (.PDF)


Gage Foods Has a New Look!

Gage has officially unveiled new product labels, coming soon to a facility near you. The new labels feature two designs, one design for Gage classic products and one design for Gage’s LunchWell line.

Besides a new look, Gage has worked to make their labels more user-friendly by revising their directions and nutrition panels. They also added a new feature for food-based school menu planners that show how many ounces of Meat, cups of Vegetables, or servings of bread are in each finished serving of the product.

“We’re very excited that we were able to redesign our product labels for our customers,” states Laura Devlin, Brand Manager of Gage Foods, “It was our goal to create fun, user-friendly labels with all the relevant information necessary to build and plan a menu.”

This isn’t the only change Gage will be making. Gage is already working on providing aggregate nutrition panels on each of their cans, showing both the packaged nutrition as well as the nutrition prepared according to the basic recipe.

“In talking to customers I quickly realized this was a change we should make. We have the aggregate nutrition panels complete already, which is most of the battle.” Laura says. “We just need to acquire the technology to support it before we can implement the improvements.”



Gage Foods, 454 Country Club Drive, Bensenville, IL 60106
FAX: 630.595.6295