Back to the Roots, NYC Schools Take ‘Undo Food’ Movement One Step Further

A recent move by the New York City public school system signals a major win for small food companies and champions of better nutrition. The pressure to provide wholesome, nutritious foods is considerable for public schools across the U.S. following the introduction of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010, and many rely on products from large companies such as Kellogg, Post Foods and General Mills, which are both affordable and accessible, for their breakfast programs.

But recently, when the Kellogg Company discontinued two cereals that New York City schools served on their breakfast menus, the schools found themselves with a void to fill — and promptly seized the opportunity to try something different.

Back to the Roots was that something different. Though miniscule in comparison to food industry giants such as Kellogg, the California startup — which last summer got a $10-million funding boost from investors — offers a lineup of organic cereals with half as much sugar as conventional brands and no preservatives or added vitamins. The cereals’ nutritional profiles and organic ingredients made them the ideal candidates for New York City’s free breakfast program, which currently serves 254,000 students on average. Administrators weren’t the only ones keen about the new addition —after a lengthy test period, students gave the brand’s Purple Corn Flakes their seal of approval.