Posted in


Contact: Diane Pratt-Heavner

(703) 576-7526

School Nutrition Professionals to Taste-test Healthy Menu Options at Annual Conference


ST. LOUIS, MO – Next week, the School Nutrition Association (SNA) will kick off a two-day exhibit of foods, beverages, equipment and tools for school cafeterias. The event is part of SNA’s 73rd Annual National Conference (ANC) in St. Louis. Nearly 6,000 school nutrition professionals from across the country will explore ANC’s Exhibit Hall, spanning 200,000 square feet of exhibits from 378 companies, non-profits and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Media wishing to attend ANC must contact Diane Pratt-Heavner at to register for the conference. Media guests must meet the published Press Registration Policies (pdf). Follow us @schoollunch and #ANC19

ANC attendees are seeking new school menu items and recipes that meet federal nutrition standards, appeal to increasingly diverse student preferences and fit within limited school meal program budgets. Exhibitors will offer taste-tests of healthy entrees and sides for school breakfast and lunch, afterschool snack and summer meal menus. Attendees will preview new kitchen equipment, menu planning and sales technology, marketing and nutrition education resources and supplies to support cafeteria operations.

Among the trends and solutions on exhibit:

  • International Cuisines: To combat declining lunch participation, schools are spicing up their menus by offering students a wider range of flavors. Exhibitors will sample meals such as Korean BBQ, Indian curries and Mediterranean dishes and showcase food bars that offer various toppings and sauces, including street taco bars and Asian noodle bars, that allow students to customize their meals.
  • Kid Friendly Choices: ANC attendees also seek healthier versions of kid favorites to meet whole grain, sodium, calorie and fat requirements for school meals. Exhibitors will offer foods such as pizza prepared with whole grain crust and low sodium sauce, and reduced-sugar, multigrain breakfast cereals. Attendees seeking plant-based protein options can sample chicken-less nuggets, breaded in whole grain flour.
  • Versatile Technology: Exhibitors will demonstrate mobile apps and interactive software to allow parents to monitor school meal account balances, make payments and review nutritional facts and menus, while screening for potential allergens from their mobile devices.
  • Equipment Solutions: Attendees wanting to upgrade kitchen facilities and expand operations can preview packaging systems for grab-and-go meals, food bars and tools to allow student to self-serve, energy efficient dishwashers and combi ovens that quickly prepare healthy entrees that are crisp and juicy.
  • Allergen Free Options: With food allergies and special diet requests on the rise, exhibitors will offer a wide range of foods prepared in nut-free facilities; entrees and sides certified gluten- and soy-free or Kosher, as well as supplies, equipment and training modules to prevent cross contamination in the cafeteria.
  • Clean Label Options: As schools request more clean label menu choices, exhibitors will sample entrees with shorter ingredient lists and items prepared without artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
  • Nutrition Education Resources: Schools want students to enjoy all the fruits and vegetables offered with school meals, so attendees are seeking tools to promote produce consumption, including Farm to School kits, indoor school garden systems, student planners featuring nutrition messages, “I Tried It!” stickers and USDA Team Nutrition resources.

Attendees will peruse the popular Produce Pavilion, Dairy Way, USDA Lane and Alternative Bites Aisle for options to serve students with special dietary needs. The Partner Pavilion will allow attendees to gather resources from allied organizations. In the Wellness Village, attendees will gather health and insurance information and participate in stress relieving activities.

About the School Nutrition Association:
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) is a national, non-profit professional organization representing more than 58,000 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. For more information about ANC, visit

Related Articles