School districts spent the most money on milk and other dairy products in school year 2009-2010, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dairy products, including milk, accounted for 22% of total food purchase in SY 2009-2010. Bakery products accounted for 14% of purchases; fruit and fruit juices, 13%; poultry, 11%; prepared foods 10%; and vegetables, 9%. Grain products represented 4% of total food purchases, a number that should increase with the new meal regulations.
The study also found that in SY 2009-2010, schools purchased food valued at more than $8.5 billion. Of that, 81% was purchased commercially; 11% from USDA Food donations; and 8% was a processed product containing donated USDA Foods.
Other findings reported in the report include:
• Donated USDA Foods accounted for at least 40% of the value of cheese, turkey, beef and chicken, and nearly one-third of fruit purchased by districts.
• Nearly one in five districts purchased locally grown produce. The most commonly purchased local item was apples.
• More schools are purchasing items that offer convenience in terms of preparation and service. Purchases of prepared foods such as pizza and prepared sandwiches increased by 39% since the last study in SY 1996-1997, while prepared soup purchases increased 63%.