Trends in USDA Foods Ordered for Child Nutrition Programs Before and After Updated Nutrition Standards

Approximately 100,000 schools participated in USDA’s National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in FY2019. This report examines changes in food choices from USDA Foods for the NSLP during 2006–17 in response to 2012 revised nutrition standards.

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Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-239) 22 pp

by Michael Ollinger and Joanne Guthrie

Nutrition standards for the USDA’s National School Lunch program were updated in 2012, with changes requiring more fruit and vegetables. Most of the foods served in school meals come from commercial sources, but USDA also offers foods to schools in a program called USDA Foods. This report examines changes in food choices in the USDA Foods program during 2006–17 in response to revised nutrition standards. The report finds that the value of fresh fruits and vegetables ordered from USDA Foods and distributed by the U.S. Department of Defense DoD Fresh program rose from 5 to 15 percent of the value of all USDA Foods orders.

Keywords: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Foods in Schools program, Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, National School Lunch Program, NSLP, Child Nutrition, USDA Foods, USDA commodities, nutrition standards