Chartwells K12’s Innovative “Mood Boost” Program Wins Food Management’s 2020 Best Management Company Concept Award

Recognized for helping students connect what they eat with how they feel in a fun and engaging way, Food Management magazine has named Chartwells K12’s “Mood Boost” program the Best Management Company Concept of 2020. This award, given annually to the best concepts in foodservice across the country, highlights the most innovative and creative initiatives developed by onsite dining operators.

“The power of Mood Boost is transforming school cafeterias across the country into happier and healthier places,” said Belinda Oakley, CEO, Chartwells K12. “While we can see the program is inspiring students to make food choices that can help them be more confident, alert, smart, happy, strong and calm, winning Food Management magazine’s Best Management Company Concept award only reinforces our commitment to bring fun food discovery and engaging nutrition education programs to the schools and communities we serve.”

Understanding the issue of mental health is top of mind for school superintendents and parents, Chartwells K12 set out to address the issue with a new concept that’s breaking grounds in nutrition education and student engagement. Mood Boost, launched in Fall 2019, was designed to help K12 students make the connection between what they eat and how they feel. With a combination of engaging characters and cafeteria decor, on-trend recipes focused on mood-boosting foods and a variety of fun give-aways, Mood Boost is far more than an education program or an effort to get kids to eat new foods. Highlights include:

  • The “Moodies”, a series of six fun and engaging characters to help younger students recognize their different moods: Alert, Calm, Confident, Happy, Smart, and Strong.
  • Recipes kids love that prominently feature at least one significant ingredient per mood. For example, Raspberries with Chocolate and Basil (Alert); Broccoli Salad with Raisins (Calm); Strawberry Avocado Smoothie (Confident); Citrus Chickpea Salad (Happy); Red Kidney Bean Hummus (Smart); and Portuguese Style Pork Bowl (Strong).
  • Giveaways including collectible trading cards that feature the Moodies, information about key ingredients supporting each mood and recipes kids and families can make at home.

Highlights and a look at in-school tasting events are featured in this video:

Since 1998, Food Management has sponsored the Best Concepts program with the goal of recognizing and celebrating the best practices and the most innovative thinking in onsite foodservice. With awards given in a variety of categories including Best Management Company Concept, Best Wellness Initiative, Best Sustainability Initiative, and more, nominations are evaluated by an editorial jury, judging them on a variety of factors ranging from their creativity and their impact on a given program, to their effectiveness in achieving targeted results.

Mood Boost is one of the many ways Chartwells is serving up happy and healthy inside and outside the cafeteria. Since schools closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chartwells associates have served more than 100 million meals to students, keeping mealtime a bright spot in a student’s day.

About Chartwells K12
Chartwells K12’s goal is to make sure students leave the cafeteria happier and healthier than they came in, by serving food kids love to eat and creating custom dining programs. With more than 16,000 associates in 4,100 schools, ranging from large public institutions to small charter and private schools, Chartwells K12 is built on decades of food, education and operational experience driven by top culinary, nutrition, wellness, and sustainability talent. For more information, visit