Sailor, Supplier, Service, and the Navy Standard Core Menu

BY PAUL SMITH, NAVY FOOD SERVICE READINESS OFFICER, NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND

In May 2007, the Navy Standard Core Menu (NSCM) was implemented with the goal of improving food service operations and Sailor quality of life. The NSCM standardized food choices, decreased the range of items, reduced workload afloat, simplified inventory management, and improved supply chain supportability through the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Subsistence Prime Vendor (SPV) Program. Prior to the NSCM, Navy food service professionals developed ship and galley specific menus according to crew preference, with catalogs in excess of 2,500 line items.

Today, instead of having several hundred ship or galley specific menus, the NSCM supports five platform specific menus. Platform specific menus consist of less than 60 entrees, using less than 800 line items included on the Navy’s Master Load List. Even though menus and catalogs have been condensed, our culinary specialists (CSs) prepare and present a wide selection of entrees ensuring each meal contains wholesome choices to support the GO FOR GREEN® (G4G) program and Navy’s Culture of Fitness initiative.

The menu writing process continues to reflect the preferences of Sailors and Marines, including comfort foods such as burgers and pizza. At the same time, Sailors and Marines are more aware of what types of food best support high energy and high output lifestyles. In short, they are more educated to make healthier food choices. Ashore and afloat type commands (TYCOMs) and CS communities develop the NSCM to support a 21-day cycle of daily entrees that meet nutritional and supportability requirements. Submarines are the only units on a 28-day cycle.

Throughout the year, TYCOMs collect menu input from individual commands. Sailor feedback and trends presented at DLA SPV food shows provide valuable information. Crew members can share their food preferences with food service officers during ship or command menu review boards. This information is vital for TYCOMs and CSs, as it gives them a starting point to enhance their menus and incorporate healthier options.

Once TYCOMs and CSs finish developing their menus, they submit them to the NAVSUP Readiness Team, who, along with Natick Laboratories, review the proposals to make certain any changes or additions meet G4G nutritional guidelines. Natick Labs test new products and conduct sensory analysis on items and recipes for consideration to the NSCM.

G4G is a nutrition education program which seeks to influence diner choice using a color coding labeling system. Food items are labeled green, yellow, or red based on their nutritional criteria. G4G label cards are posted for all food items found at afloat and ashore galleys.

Once G4G benchmarks are met, focus is shifted to the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support (DLA-TS) team in Philadelphia who manages the SPV program. It is the responsibility of DLA-TS to work with the SPVs to find an available source to meet product specification and ensure global product supportability. Overall, the SPV program enables the Navy to employ a more centralized and standardized subsistence process. Even with the logistics challenges of servicing a mobile fleet, NAVSUP continues to work with DLA-TS to find efficiencies that lead to better fill rate performance, cost Feature Story savings, and global supportability.

The main goal is to continue support to the TYCOMs and CSs while ensuring they maintain the ability to create menus tailored to local preferences. Empowering our food service professionals to develop recipes using a common set of ingredients further improves the quality of life for our Sailors and Marines. It is their morale, health, and fitness that will move our fleet toward continued success.

July/August 2017