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
Improving Access to Free School Meals: Addressing Intersections Between Universal Free School Meal Approaches and Educational Funding
Free and reduced price meal application data are used to allocate billions of dollars annually in education funding. However, schools serving universal free meals under the Community Eligibility Provision meal service option or USDA’s COVID-19 waivers do not typically collect school meal applications. The loss of this data has caused … More
Schools play a vital role in promoting children’s health and well-being. In the United States, schools contribute significantly to children’s overall diet quality and can provide up to half of their daily calories, especially among children from low-income families. Providing healthy school meals for all is a policy opportunity to … More