New meal regs greatly affect school menus

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

Published in FSD K-12 Spotlight

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 2013 Impacted 2012 Greatest Challenges 2013 Greatest Challenges 2012
Lunch foods offered 81% 74% 39% 24%
Frequency of items on menu rotation 63% 50% 14% 10%
Lunch program reimbursements 54% 27% 13% 5%
Breakfast foods offered 42% 45% 3% 3%
More items prepared from scratch/partial scratch 35% 48% 10% 15%
Nutritional information available to students and parents 31% 39% 5% 9%
Purchasing locally sourced foods 24% 38% 5% 8%
More items purchased prepared 21% 21% 4% 2%
Program qualification rates 20% 15% 2% 1%
Food handling requirements/food safety requirements 16% 16% 0% 1%
Items available in the vending machines 15% 25% 2% 3%
Student access to vending machines 9% 17% 1% 1%

Source: Datassential

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