New meal regs greatly affect school menus

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

Study shows how the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has affected child nutrition programs.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act greatly impacted what the majority of operators offer at lunch, according to new research from Datassential. Other challenging areas include menu rotation and reimbursements. 

Operators report that meeting requirements for items offered at lunch to be a bigger challenge in 2013 than in 2012. Lunch program reimbursements nearly doubled in impact between 2012 and 2013, jumping from 27% to 54%.

How operators say the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act has impacted them:

 Impacted 2013Impacted 2012Greatest Challenges 2013Greatest Challenges 2012
Lunch foods offered81%74%39%24%
Frequency of items on menu rotation63%50%14%10%
Lunch program reimbursements54%27%13%5%
Breakfast foods offered42%45%3%3%
More items prepared from scratch/partial scratch35%48%10%15%
Nutritional information available to students and parents31%39%5%9%
Purchasing locally sourced foods24%38%5%8%
More items purchased prepared21%21%4%2%
Program qualification rates20%15%2%1%
Food handling requirements/food safety requirements16%16%0%1%
Items available in the vending machines15%25%2%3%
Student access to vending machines9%17%1%1%

Source: Datassential