SNA Comments on New Study on Perceptions of School Meals FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner 301-686-3124 firstname.lastname@example.org SNA Comments on New Study on Perceptions of School Meals 2014-07-21 National Harbor, MD (July 21, 2014) – Today, School Nutrition Association President Julia Bauscher, SNS, issued the following comments in response to a study reporting on perceptions of student reactions to school meals since new federal nutrition standards took effect.“SNA supports many of the new federal requirements for school meals, including mandates to offer a wider variety and larger servings of fruits and vegetables, limits on calories and unhealthy fats and reasonable limits on sodium. Our members are working hard to make healthy meals more appealing to students, and we are proud of the tremendous progress we have made in encouraging students to make healthier choices.” “However, these reported perceptions about school meals do not reflect reality. While many changes have been welcomed by students, there is no denying that some of the new requirements have driven students away from the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data show that since schools began implementing the new requirements 1.4 million fewer students choose school lunch, even though 1.77 million more students have access to school meals through NSLP, due to increasing enrollment at NSLP schools. “This decline in participation, experienced across 49 states, has severely impacted school meal program budgets at a time when programs are struggling with the increased cost of preparing meals that meet the new requirements, as well as substantial inflationary increases in the price of the fruits, vegetables and milk required on student lunch trays.“The School Nutrition Association’s 2013 Back to School Trends Survey found that in the 2012-2013 school year 47% of school meal programs reported revenue declined while more than nine of ten reported that food costs were up. Unfortunately, despite significant inflationary increases in food prices over the last year, the reimbursement rate adjustment for the coming school year was actually smaller than the one for the previous school year.“I look forward to discussing many of these challenges before the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday. SNA is requesting commonsense flexibility under the new standards to help students adjust to these changes, increase the number of children participating in the school lunch program and keep school meal programs financially stable.” About School Nutrition Association:The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country. Founded in 1946, SNA and its members are dedicated to making healthy school meals and nutrition education available to all students. To find out more about today’s school meals, visit www.TrayTalk.org.