SNA survey: Implementing proposed nutrition standards top concern for directors

Aug. 19—According to a new survey conducted by the School Nutrition Association, 69% of directors surveyed said implementing recently proposed nutrition standards for school meals, which require additional healthy options, as their top concern. Limited funding and cost of food also were named as pressing issues.

Despite those concerns, the State of School Nutrition 2011 survey reported that many schools were making improvements to the quality of meals served. Some of the highlights include: 98% of districts offer fresh fruits and vegetables; 97% of districts say whole-grain foods are readily accessible; 89% of districts offer salad bars or prepackaged salads; 63% of districts provide vegetarian meals; and 98% of districts offer fat-free or 1% milk.

The survey also found that more programs are working to bring in more locally sourced foods, with 48% of respondents offering locally sourced fruits and vegetables, which is up 11% from 2009. Thirty-two percent of districts are involved in farm-to-school initiatives and another 41% are interested in implementing these programs. Twenty-one percent of districts have a school garden and 37% are interested in planning or starting a garden.

Districts also are making more items from scratch, according to the survey. Ninety-four percent of districts prepare some entrées or sides from scratch. Of those, more than 64% prepare at least a quarter of their entrées from scratch, and more than 71% prepare at least a quarter of their side dishes from scratch—both results are an increase from 2009.

Child nutrition programs are involving students in taste testing new menu items, with 89% of respondents saying they employ this practice. Thirty-five percent of districts test all or most of their new menu items with students.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents said they conduct nutrition education in the classroom, with another 31% saying they plan to or have interest in implementing these programs.

One area that has not changed since 2009 was the average time for lunch. The median time for elementary school lunch is 25 minutes. The median lunch period for middle and high schools is 30 minutes.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
local produce

From WinCup.

Today’s students care deeply about sustainability—much more so than the general population. For them, sustainable practices are visit drivers. What’s more, some 57% of students are willing to pay more for sustainable foods, according to Technomic’s recent College & University Consumer Trend Report . Sustainable claims drive visits, especially for young consumers: Some 31% of Gen Zers say they’re more likely to visit restaurants that try to be sustainable.

Students are looking for foodservice operations with comprehensive sustainability programs, and...

Industry News & Opinion

Mayfield High School in Mayfield, Ohio, has opened a coffee cart in its cafeteria, The News-Herald reports .

Open throughout the day, the cart sells 12-ounce cups of coffee for $2 each. Students were able to taste-test some of the offerings and were also involved in choosing the cart’s name.

The drinks are made with low-fat milk and unsweetened flavor syrups, and soy milk is on hand for those with allergies. To encourage more breakfast participation, the school gives students 50 percent off coffee when they also buy a breakfast item. Additionally, the cart is stationed next...

Sponsored Content
boston college acai bowl

From Dannon Foodservice.

Catering to the go-go-go lifestyle of university students is a challenge, and it’s one that Boston College dining representatives wrestle with daily.

“Students don’t just want to eat dinner between 5 and 7 p.m.,” says Beth Emery, the school’s director of dining. “They may want to eat dinner at 9 o’clock. We’ve been trying to come up with creative solutions.”

Those creative solutions include everything from offering breakfast items throughout the day to providing healthier late-night choices to trolling social media for trendy new menu ideas...

Sponsored Content
savory yogurt parfait

From Dannon Foodservice.

What consumers eat and, most importantly, when they’re eating it has changed significantly in recent years, signaling opportunity for operators able to capitalize on this evolution.

For example, some 83% of consumers said they were daily snackers in 2016, according to Technomic’s Snacking Occasion Consumer Trend Report . That’s up from 76% just two years earlier. Snacking is growing across many channels from retail prepared foods to bakery and coffee cafes, fast-food locations and more.

Busy lifestyles, smaller households with greater meal...

FSD Resources