Published: June 2011

ID #: 65072

Journal: J Am Diet Assoc

Authors: Nollen NL, Kimminau KS, Nazir N

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This paper examines how Kansas school districts with low à la carte sales differ from districts with moderate to high à la carte sales on important demographic and financial characteristics. A la carte sales are foods and beverages sold outside the federal reimbursable school meals program. Researchers found that in rural districts with low à la carte sales, lunch prices and participation in the National School Lunch Program were higher, lunch costs and à la carte quality were lower, and fewer free/reduced price lunches were served compared to rural districts with high à la carte sales. No differences were found between urban/suburban districts with low and high à la carte sales. These results highlight the importance of lunch price and participation in the National School Lunch Program to maintaining low à la carte sales. Schools should consider raising lunch prices and increasing school meal participation rates as two potential strategies for reducing the sale of à la carte items without compromising foodservice revenue.

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