What’s Cooking with Correctional Food Trends?

By Zach Chouteau

What’s cooking with correctional food service? Here’s just a sampling of recent dining doings at prisons and jails around the U.S.

Market to See Huge Growth by 2028?

The latest study released on the Global Catering & Food Services for Correctional Facilities Market by AMA Research evaluates market size, trend, and forecast to 2028. The Catering & Food Services for Correctional Facilities market study covers significant research data and proofs to be a handy resource document for managers, analysts, industry experts and other key people to have ready-to-access and self-analyzed study to help understand market trends, growth drivers, opportunities and upcoming challenges and about the competitors.

Key Players in This Report Included: Aramark (United States), Correctional Food Services, Inc. (United States), Sodexo (France), Trinity Services Group (United States), Summit Food Service, LLC (United States), National Food Group (United States), Tigg’s Canteen Services Inc. (United States), TIGER (United States), Washington State Department of Corrections (United States).

The global catering & services market for correctional facilities is expected to grow at a healthy rate during the forecast period, according to the AMA study. The growing number of prisoners across different regions and raising concerns to provide healthy nutrition in order to reduce the illness rates caused by food in correctional facilities are some of the major factors aiding the growth of the market globally. The United States market size is expected to grow from USD 4076.85 million in 2019 to USD 5286.81 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.43%.

The complete report can be purchased at www.advancemarketanalytics.com.

Avenal Becomes First Prison with Franchised Restaurant on Site

A food service breakthrough has just taken place at a correctional center in the Golden State. Avenal State Prison (ASP) can now “Eat Fresh!” thanks to an initiative supported by the Office of Employee Wellness (OEW).

CDCR staff, contractors, volunteers, and guests on official business can find healthy food alternatives at a new Subway sandwich shop. The eatery is now open for business in the Administration Building cafeteria. This location is not open to the general public.

The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by:

  • Avenal Mayor Alvaro Preciado
  • Avenal Police Captain Leonard Lujan
  • Patrick Sanchez, Avenal Schools District Manager
  • Retired ASP Warden Rosemary Ndoh
  • Subway representatives.

“I am grateful to all of our staff who worked with Subway on this partnership to bring heathier meal options to our hard-working ASP employees for a better quality of life,” said ASP Warden Martin Gamboa.

The restaurant will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week offering healthier options than other fast-food chains. The eatery will include breakfast items, sandwiches, fruits, vegetables, and beverages.

The process began July 2018, when the Department of General Services (DGS) called for bids from vendors to supply healthy food for CDCR staff. Subway, the only business to submit a bid, was awarded the 10-year contract to lease the space.

CDCR does not receive profits from Subway, and employees will not be awarded special discounts. At this time, there are no plans to expand this partnership to other prisons.

While other institutions and facilities do have snack bars and canteens, this establishment is the first of its kind in a California State Prison.

No other state institutions have a franchised restaurant inside its facility or on its property.

Following the Maine Course?

Maine’s Department of Corrections is a leader in food service, and it will be interesting to see if other states try to emulate its healthy home-grown approach.

Maine’s five adult state correctional facilities have produced much of their own food on site in organic gardens for several years now, and have also baked their own breads and purchased discounted produce and grains from vendors locally. According to Impact Justice’s complete 2020 report on prison food in America, the state’s exemplary efforts make it a model for other correctional systems nationwide,

The Maine DOC has also begun a unique, groundbreaking pilot program with Impact Justice and Brigaid—based in Connecticut and founded by a former chef of Copenhagen’s renowned Noma restaurant. The program showcases proven chefs as advisors to improve institutional food in settings ranging from school cafeterias to hospitals.

Maine’s DOC already provides culinary training and line cook apprenticeship programs, in addition to providing ServSafe and food preservation certifications. And it will be intriguing to see if the state’s healthy approach—and cost-effectiveness of the self-sustaining food program—gets the attention of other correctional food programs.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the March/April 2023 issue of Correctional News.