As part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, snacks and desserts sold in schools as of the 2014-2015 school year were required to meet “Smart Snacks” nutritional guidelines. This study evaluated the potential of using public bid records to characterize the nutrition quality of snack food procured by school districts. Using Interflex, a database of public bid records, this study examined data for 8 school districts across the United States during 2011-2012, 2012-2013, and 2013-2014 to provide 3 years of pre-Smart Snacks data. The research team quantified the amount of calories and sugar of each product contained in the won bids based on available online sources and determined whether the product complied with Smart Snack guidelines. In all 8 districts, at least 50 percent of snack bids were compliant with the Smart Snacks standards during the 2013-2014 school year. Across sampled districts, there was a general trend in lower caloric density (kcal per product) and sugar density (grams of sugar per product) over a 3-year period. The study concluded that while the majority of bids put out by school districts from 2011 to 2014 met Smart Snacks standards, room for improvement remains. In addition, bid databases such as Interflex could be useful as a surveillance tool to examine school district food procurement practices, but there are challenges and limitations.
Nutrition Quality of U.S. School Snack Foods: A First Look at 2011-2014 Bid Records in 8 School Districts
Using a Bid Database to Study the Nutritional Quality of Competitive Foods in Schools and Establish a Baseline for Evaluating New USDA Guidelines
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently proposed new standards for snack (competitive) foods in schools, similar to the Competitive Foods Guidelines developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. This project will objectively track changes in snack food purchasing among K-12 public schools as a result ofthese standards. The aims … More
Strong nutrition standards for school meals, consistent with evidence-based recommendations, position children for optimal health and wellbeing. Strong science supports the link between lowering sodium intake and better health. This new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research examines the recent history of sodium standards for school meals. It highlights current sodium intake … More
In the next year, an estimated 1 in 4 children will experience food insecurity (up from 1 in 6, pre-pandemic), disproportionately impacting children in low-income households and racial/ethnic minorities. To mediate loss of school meals during closures and reduce COVID-19 exposure, Congress authorized the USDA to permit local education authorities … More