Nine of ten school districts (89.7%) list a pasta entree on the menu, with the average district listing 3 and 11% listing 5 to 8. There are about ten pasta cuts on which to build an entree. Macaroni and cheese is on the menus of 72.6% of school districts. Other cuts include pasta on 44.5% of K-12 menus, spaghetti (29.1% of menus), ravioli (26.9%), lasagna (19.4%), rotini (13.1%), penne (12.0%), ziti (7.4%), shells (4.0%), tortellini (0.6%) and linguni (0.6%). After the decision over cut and format (scratch or prepared), has been made, sauce and meat component variations are almost limitless, but actual menu evidence suggests 2 or 3 selections are most common.
Spaghetti is found on 29.1% of K-12 menus. Schools use about five variations of spaghetti, led by spaghetti with meatballs (16.6% incidence) and spaghetti (10.3%). In addition to looking at category incidence (column one in table) as a measure of menu success, menu item frequency (col. 4) needs to also be considered.
Spaghetti Item Type
Category Incidence Percent
Count of Items on the Menu
Menu Item Share Percent
Average Menu Item Frequency / Month
Sum of Menu Item Frequency / Month
Menu Frequency Share Percent
Item Type Performance Index
Spaghetti w/ Meatballs
Spaghetti w/ Chicken
Spaghetti w/ Turkey
Spaghetti w/ Chicken Meatballs
Any type/variety of spaghetti is listed an average of 1.4 times per month. Spaghetti with turkey, however, is listed 3.8 times per month and Spaghetti with chicken meatballs 1.7 times. Increasing frequency on the monthly menu is very important for foodservice manufacturers, whether they are making the sauce, the pasta, the meat protein or other ingredient. Item Type Performance Index, which relates item share and frequency share provides an excellent measure of menu performance. The seven measures of menu performance may be applied to any food, flavor or ingredient as an aid to manufacturers evaluating options for their products.
FlavorTrak Reports are extremely valuable and provide insight for culinary product development, marketing and sales promotion teams. Reports are available in tabulated format with commentary on each statistical table and may also be viewed in Tableau Online or Tableau Desktop. For more information, please contact Larry Atseff or Joe Brady at 708-386-7579.
About FlavorTrak K-12 Menus
Foodservice Research Institute specializes in collecting information from commercial and non commercial operators. We created FlavorTrak K-12 Menus to assist your targeted research efforts by quantifying category usage levels. Our experience with the MenuMine menu information database has been used to create a service with an exclusive focus on the school foodservice segment.