News Feed Item

Behind the Apron: The Current State of School Nutrition Programs in America

Behind the Apron: The Current State of School Nutrition Programs in America

ALEXANDRIA, VA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- 05/16/05 -- Childhood obesity and adequate funding ranked as the most pressing issues facing school nutrition professionals nationwide. In response, school districts are offering more fresh fruits and vegetables and skim milk, and are involving students in taste tests of new menu items. These are just a few of the findings of the 2005 Operations Survey Report released today by the School Nutrition Association (formerly the American School Food Service Association). The report, last released in March 2003, benchmarks detailed information on operational issues impacting school nutrition programs. With an overwhelming response rate, the 2005 report more accurately reflects the distribution of school districts nationwide.

This 'state of school nutrition programs in America,' covers demographics and operational parameters, programs and policies, breakfast and lunch service, food safety, foodservice budget issues, marketing and customer service and pressing issues. Among the results of the survey were the following:

--  Respondents selected childhood obesity as the most pressing issue
    facing school foodservice directors nationwide. Funding, the development of
    a local school wellness policy and the cost of food/food preparation were
    the next most pressing issues.

--  As seen in the 2003 survey, fat-free (skim) or low-fat milk is the
    most popular food option offered daily at elementary, middle and high
    schools. It is offered daily in elementary schools by 92.3% of the
    districts, in middle schools by 85.5%, and in high schools by 87.9%. Fresh
    fruits/vegetables and three or more milk flavors are the only other food
    options offered by a majority of the districts daily in all levels.

--  Lunch, breakfast and catering continue to be offered by a majority of
    the districts. After-school snack and summer foodservice programs are
    offered by at least one-quarter or more of the districts overall.

--  A strong majority of districts have involved students in taste testing
    new items -- 11.4% of the districts have students taste test all new items,
    23.2% have them test most new items and 54.5% have them test some new
    items. This represents a consistent increase in the number of districts
    that have students test all new items.

--  Meal charges show consistent rates of increase over time. The average
    charge for full-paid lunch reaches $1.54 for elementary schools, $1.72 for
    middle schools and $1.77 for high schools. About 30% of the districts
    report that they increased their meal charges in the past year.

--  There has not been a significant change since 1993 in the number of
    districts with an open-campus lunch, with about 30% reporting such a policy
    for at least one school in their district. As in the past, high schools are
    the most popular venues by a wide margin for such a policy.

The 2005 Operations Survey, Final Report represents the feedback of 1,434 school foodservice directors from districts in 49 states. The survey was conducted between January and March 2005. Copies of the full report can be ordered from the School Nutrition Association's online bookstore at

The School Nutrition Association (formerly ASFSA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 55,000 members who provide high-quality, low-cost meals to students across the country. The Association and its members are dedicated to feeding children safe and nutritious meals. Founded in 1946, SNA is the only association devoted exclusively to protecting and enhancing children's health and well being through school meals and sound nutrition education.

Erik Peterson
(703) 739-3900 Ext 124
[email protected]

More Stories By Marketwired .

Copyright © 2009 Marketwired. All rights reserved. All the news releases provided by Marketwired are copyrighted. Any forms of copying other than an individual user's personal reference without express written permission is prohibited. Further distribution of these materials is strictly forbidden, including but not limited to, posting, emailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, redistributing via a computer network or in a printed form.