We All Scream for Fennel!
I think I could come up with a reality TV reference for anything. In this case, I'm reminded of the challenges in Top Chef when they've had to feed kids. One episode had the White House chef and Michelle Obama (of course). Some cheftestants tried to please the judges and White House chef by going overboard on the healthy stuff. The kale salad? It stayed on the plate. One genius thought she would get extra points by serving yogurt, then had to add a pound of sugar in order to get the kids to eat it. The successful chefs were the ones who seem to already know what the kids in this article were saying -- we "miss the French fries, pizza, burgers and cheesesteaks." They did healthier versions of these foods. As I recall, the winner did zucchini "fries" with dipping sauces because kids love dipping things. Fennel salad and other unfamiliar lunch items are just another example of bureaucrats pleasing bureaucrats rather than paying attention to what constituents (in this case, kids) actually want and will eat.
(P.S. Is People for People an off-shoot of the Human Fund?)