Resource | Research | Cost Study
USDA Foods in Schools

USDA Foods data collected via the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Order Receipt System (FFAVORS) were analyzed to conduct analyses on food purchases and spending at the national and state levels for four school years. These infographics display national data for school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 and include information on USDA Foods direct deliver USDA Foods data collected via the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Order Receipt System (FFAVORS) were analyzed to conduct analyses on food purchases and spending at the national and state levels for four school years. These infographics display national data for school years 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 and include information on USDA Foods direct delivery, USDA Foods bulk for processing, and the USDA Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II, School Year 2015-2016

The Child Nutrition Program Operations Study II (CN-OPS II) is a multiyear study that provides FNS with information on current state agency and school food authority policies, practices, and needs related to school nutrition service operations, financial management, meal counting, training and professional standards, food service equipment, and technology. 

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals Demonstration - Year 1

The demonstration of Direct Certification with Medicaid for Free and Reduced-Price Meals (DCM-F/RP) allows authorized States and school districts to use information from Medicaid data files to identify students eligible to receive free or reduced-price (F/RP) National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) meals. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct a study of the first two years of this demonstration to describe the implementation process and explore the effects on certification, participation, Federal reimbursements, and State administrative costs. This report presents the findings from the first year of the demonstration evaluation, school year (SY) 2016–2017.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
Evaluation of the School Meal Data Collection Process

The Evaluation of the School Meal Data Collection Process study describes and evaluates the methodologies and processes used by schools, school food authorities (SFAs), and state agencies to collect and report data on three Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) forms used for the federal school meal programs: the Report of School Program Operations (FNS-10), the SFA Verification Collection Report (FNS-742), and the State Agency Direct Certification Rate Data Element Report (FNS-834). In addition to describing the processes, the study identifies potential sources of error when completing the three forms and provides useful practices and recommendations for improving data collection processes.

Resource | Research | Report to Congress
Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study

The Child Nutrition Reporting Burden Analysis Study was commissioned by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service in response to a legislative requirement of House Report 114-531. The study examined challenges faced by state agencies (SAs) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) related to child nutrition (CN) program administrative and reporting requirements and identifying those that contribute most to the workload for SAs and SFAs that operate CN programs.

Resource | Research | Impacts/Evaluations
Successful Approaches to Reduce Sodium in School Meals Study

This study was designed to provide information on (1) the market availability of foods that meet the sodium standards for school meal programs set by regulation in 2012, (2) the strategies most often used by schools that have met the sodium targets, and (3) the technical assistance needs of schools and districts working to develop lower sodium menus.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study

This study is the first nationally representative, comprehensive assessment of the school meal programs since the updated nutrition standards for school meals were phased in beginning School Year 2012-2013. A study methodology report that describes the study design, sampling and data collection and a Summary Report that provides a brief overview of the study and key findings from the various reports are also available.

Resource | Research | Report to Congress
Multi-Agency Task Force Report to Congress, January 2018

The 2014 Farm Bill established a Multi-Agency Taskforce to provide coordination and direction for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The Task Force is responsible for evaluating and monitoring USDA commodity programs to ensure that through the distribution of domestic agricultural products, the programs support the U.S. farm sector and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals in the United States. This third annual report to Congress describes the activities of the taskforce in 2017.

Resource | Research | Demonstrations
Evaluation of the School Breakfast Program Pilot Project: Findings from the First Year of Implementation

Participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) by children from low-income households continues to be less than their participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). There is concern that children might be coming to school without eating breakfast and still not be participating in the SBP for a variety of reasons, including a perceived stigma associating school breakfast participation with poverty. The aim of this pilot is to study the impact of the availability of universal-free school breakfast on breakfast participation and measures related to students’ nutritional status and academic performance. This pilot is not intended to evaluate the current SBP or the value of consuming breakfast.

Resource | Research | Assessing/Improving Operations
School Meals Initiative Implementation Study: Third Year Report

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) are key components of a national policy designed to safeguard and promote the nutritional well-being of the Nation’s children. The programs are administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), operating through state agencies (SAs) that have agreements with the local school systems in their States. Despite the progress that has been achieved over the years in enhancing the quality of school meals, results of research conducted in the early 1990s indicated that school meals, on balance, were failing to meet certain key nutritional goals. In light of these findings, the USDA launched a far-reaching reform of the school meals programs, a reform aimed at upgrading the nutritional content of school meals. The reform began in late 1993 with public hearings followed by a proposed rule in 1994 and a final rule in 1995. The several elements of this reform are collectively referred to as the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Children (SMI). The status of this initiative, together with an examination of selected operational issues of these programs, are the principal subjects of this report.