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  • August 18th, 2021

    “It is great seeing old friends” was the sentiment expressed by Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s, and many others at the recent American Correctional Association Congress of Correction in Nashville. Our team was thrilled with the chance to connect in person with old friends and to see some new faces too.

    Getting to speak with customers face to face is one of the best ways for us to check in with what is happening in their facility and to hear about the challenges and successes they are experiencing. And let’s face it, 2020 was filled with challenges. The focus of our conversations with correctional foodservice operators since the beginning of the pandemic were the operational and equipment changes needed to address new requirements in meal delivery to their inmate population. For facilities that had cafeteria style feeding or feeding in pods, this often meant switching to in-cell feeding which required finding new correctional meal trays and transport solutions. In the beginning it was a scramble just to keep things moving because no one knew how long it would last. Things seemed to settle down after about six months, but that’s when many facilities realized that the need to consider the changes they made were going to be permanent and the temporary fixes initially instituted needed to be rethought. It feels like we’re in a much better place now with most of our customers having solidified a new way of operating and establishing all the processes with the right equipment and supplies needed to have created a #newnormal.

    But while feeding the population has dominated our conversations for the last 18 months, one highlight came to us from the ACA conference was an area we hadn’t heard a lot; specifically, how to feed your staff safely. Many of the contacts we met at the show are still working with their original ‘temporary’ fix in place. It was seeing the new MyGo Containers™ in our booth that was the catalyst to initiate these new discussions. To be honest, the response to the MyGo was a bit of a surprise to us. But after two or three conversations, we started to understand how these containers fit in and why so many people were excited about MyGo.

    If you’re not familiar with the MyGo Containers™, these are reusable to-go containers that we introduced in our 2021 Cook’s Buyers Guide for Corrections. They were designed to replace foam or paper disposable carry-out or to-go containers. With so many foodservice outlets changing to take-out or grab and go only operations, the amount of non-food waste being generated has grown exponentially and switching to a reusable to-go container can have a significant impact by reducing the amount of trash a facility generates as well as the cost of all those throw away containers. MyGo’s are different from a tray with a lid because they are one piece and the lid features a soft gasket to create a leak resistant seal. The top has three snap tight tabs to keep the container tightly closed during transport. Additionally, in the containers with compartments, the interior dividers go all the way to the lid, so each compartment is completely separated and sealed off from other compartments keeping foods separated because nobody likes soggy bread. MyGo’s are also flat on top making them easy to stack and transport on carts, in bags, even backpacks. Another positive that our customers mentioned was the transparent shell. You can easily see the contents of a MyGo Container™ when it’s closed.

    Right now, we have our large and small three compartment containers in the smoke shell with the green gasket in stock and ready for immediate shipment. The large 3-compartment container, MyGo-1001, is 9-3/8” x 9-3/8” x 2-1/2”D. Our small 3-compartment container, MyGo-1003, is 8” x 8” x 2-1/2”D. We also have drying racks for facilities that would require larger quantities of MyGo Containers™. Other colors and sizes are available, but most have an extended lead time. If you think the MyGo Container™ would be a great solution to Officer and staff meals, call us and request a sample. We’d love to have you test it out in your ODR or kitchen and let us know what you think.

    What We Learned at the ACA Conference

    Keywords: MyGo™ for Staff Dining Solutions