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EDITORIAL COMMENT: The Serving Line


August 2011
Partnerships For Success

This year's DLA Troop Support Worldwide Customer Conference and Food Show is another opportunity for the foodservice industry to get together with the military services and build the future.

It comes little more than a year after the last conference and food show, but at a time of much change, which makes maintaining strong partnerships between DLA Troop Support customers and suppliers all the more valuable in achieving the goal of supporting the warfighter and sustaining global requirements

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Typically held every 18 months, the Worldwide Conference and Food Show is a one-stop marketplace for exchanging ideas through the workshops and supplier exhibit booths. Attendance for 2010 exceeded 1,800, including 222 exhibiting companies.

Nonetheless, the market turned sharply in the past year. Federal budget constraints are forcing the military to look even deeper into controlling costs, including subsistence, and be more efficient with the taxpayer dollars used to deliver logistics support. In fiscal 2010, DLA Troop Support Subsistence initiated $4.7 billion in gross sales.

Also, the military is stepping up its commitment to improving its nutrition and dietary guidelines for service members. The Army is the first to illustrate nutrition content with the “Go for Green” color-labeling system being used in dining facilities, and other services recognize the systems advantages.

The Air Force plans to apply its five-year-old Basic Military Training healthy menu to tech training bases, and then into dining facilities used by airmen in their professional assignments. It includes a color-coded system similar to Go for Green.

A nutrition education program introduced by the Navy throughout all its galleys during 2010 also uses a color-coded labeling system making it easy for sailors to identify healthy choices on a serving line. It is part of the Navys Operational Fitness and Fueling System (NOFFS).

The Marine Corps is considering adding a color-coded nutrition education program for wide-scale use in its mess halls.

At the same time, the military Nutritional Environment Assessment Tool (m-NEAT) is becoming the standard used by the military to assess accessibility to healthy food options from dining facilities to vending machines.

Achieving better dietary education and accessibility to healthy food options depends on strong partnerships with suppliers. Evidence of that is companies are already working with the military to comply with changing guidelines for higher protein content, reduced sodium levels, limit fats and improve nutritional values.

It may be only one year since DLA Troop Support's last Worldwide Customer Conference and Food Show, but market conditions demand the strong partnerships between customers and suppliers that it builds. One of the places to find this cooperation is at the DLA Troop Support Worldwide Customer Conference and Food Show.