Focus Foods is on a mission to get the word out. The Baton Rouge-based company is a leading provider of USDA meal solutions for K-12 schools and elder care, as well as emergency/relief meal solutions, but many Louisianians don’t know they exist.
They offer an undeniably beneficial and much needed service. Since 2019, Focus Foods has provided more than 19 million meals to those in disaster situations through multiple storms, and now feeds 30,000 K-12 schoolchildren across seven parish school districts each week through the USDA’s Child & Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP).
AT A GLANCE
Top executives: Jeff Landry, CEO; Brian Tomecek, COO; Neal Ashby, Chief Special Projects Officer;
Phone:  936-4750
All states and school systems have access to the 100 percent reimbursable program, and Focus Foods’ unmatched production and logistics system delivers the meals directly to the child’s home via its own delivery fleet, eight owned pickup sites, and another 50+ sites through partnerships with local independent grocers across 11 parishes. “CACFP augments the National School Lunch Program (NSLP),” says Ned Fasullo, the company’s chief marketing officer. “We’re on the other side of that coin, providing meal boxes with supper, snacks, milk and juice once students are dismissed from school.”
Before the pandemic, the program required that the meals be provided at the school. But that has all changed. “Under Congressional waivers, meals can now be accessed away from school at facilities such as the Boys & Girls Clubs, our own pickup sites, and can even be delivered to a child’s home,” Fasullo says. “We operate our own delivery fleet in seven parishes delivering a seven-day meal box to the child’s door. We do 98 percent of the work, and all a school system has to do is file for the reimbursement.”
This will be the biggest year yet for Focus Foods. In 2022, the company plans to move from its existing facilities at Celtic Studios to a larger facility in Baton Rouge. This will enable them to package raw food products for a wider range of meal solutions and expand services to the healthcare sector (including home health, home-bound hospice, nursing homes and assisted living facilities) and engage in more commercial co-packing opportunities. There will also be more options available to charter and private schools for outsourcing their meal preparation and meal services.
“Right now, we can do about 15,000 to 20,000 meal boxes a day,” Fasullo says. “With the new facility, we’ll be able to quadruple that.”