September 2017
      The rhythm of another school year has set in and with it comes the time to set goals. Just like the students in class have targets that they're working towards, so too do those of us in the school food service industry. Whether it be reducing food waste in your cafeteria, increasing your company's bid business, improving your recipes, planning ahead for the coming bid season in spring, or creating a new buying cooperative in your area, we hope to help you reach those goals and be a part of your solution.
     The resources, facts, tips, and news included in our newsletter are intended to do just that. We hope you find the information useful.
     As always, thank you for reading! If you have any feedback, please reach out to us at


Updated Nutrition Labels
All nutrition labels in BidAdvantage for Schools and the Product Database have been updated to include new fields as outlined by the FDA.

This means that all schools and cooperatives with access to BidAdvantage for Schools will see these new labels on all products in the system going forward and all manufacturers who choose to advertise or include their products in the database for schools will have the ability to include all new required nutrition information on their products.

New fields include Added Sugars, Vitamin D, and Potassium. For more information on the new nutrition label requirements, please visit

If you have questions about including your products in our database, please contact

If you work with a school district or cooperative and would like access to the Product Database, please contact

Analytics Reports Access
While using the Analytics reports, you will now have the ability to back-track and switch reports without having to go back to the main portal screen. To do this, click on the section you want to go to in the top left corner of the screen (circled in yellow on the screenshot below). For example, while viewing the Market Share reports for Cereals, you can click on Market Share Reports > in the top left corner of the screen to go back to the listing of all Market Share Reports. To go back to the main page, just click >> All Reports. These links to go back a step are often referred to as "bread crumbs" or "cookie crumbs".

As procurement moves into the spotlight in the world of school nutrition, cooperative purchasing is becoming a popular way for school districts to effectively purchase the products needed for their food service programs. To make sure you're prepared, whether you're the administrating school district, a participating district, or a bidding vendor, we've rounded up tips and helpful guidelines for cooperative purchasing along with helpful resources available to you.
For Schools:
  • Establish a process for evaluating new items before placing them on this bid to eliminate duplicates, weed out unsuitable products, and make sure items are added in an appropriate manner (e.g. as a new line or an alternate). See page 26 of "Developing Effective and Efficient Bids" from ANC 2017 for a great example.
  • Combine items used by participants into a single specification whenever possible. Minimizing your specification list while maximizing your volumes will ensure you get the best products possible at the lowest price.
  • Set deadlines and stick to them. For example, set a deadline for members to submit new items or for vendors to submit questions that they have about the bid.
  • Consider awarding your bid regionally, which can increase the number of vendors able to participate and thus increase bid competition by allowing vendors to bid who can service some of the cooperative members but not all.
  • Use technology for document storage and sharing. Keeping all of the bid documents in one place online where everyone in the group can access them will keep all participants on the same page and make document management easier for administrators.
For Vendors:
  • Pay attention to delivery locations and requirements for all members of the cooperative to be sure that you have the delivery capabilities necessary to serve the group. This can include delivery footprint, number and types of trucks, and timing of deliveries.
  • Familiarize yourself with k-12 documentation, e.g. CN labels and Product Formulation Statements. Cooperatives often request supporting documentation for all items bid and in many cases the documentation necessary is designed specifically for the k-12 segment.
  • Keep an eye out for amendments to the bid or subsequent bids. Cooperatives sometimes issue additional or updated information relevant to a bid and subsequent bids may be issued for new items or items that were not awarded on the original bid.
  • Be aware of deadlines. The due date for the bid is not the only date you need to remember; questions about the bid or sample deliveries may be due by a certain date or time.
  • Know if the bid is going to be awarded by prime vendor or by line item. If a bid is being awarded to a prime vendor, there may be a minimum number or minimum percentage of items that you must bid on to be considered.
Developing Effective and Efficient Bids - techniques and strategies for a successful bid process from ANC 2017.

Getting the Products You Want: Cooperative Purchasing & The Supply Chain - learn how cooperative purchasing can help you manage the supply chain from ANC 2017.

Power in Numbers: Group Purchasing for Healthier School Meals - examine rules, benefits, and frequently asked questions about group purchasing from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.

Buying Groups: Helping School Districts Purchase Healthy Foods - discover facts to consider in regards to a buying group and how to get started from the Food Research & Action Center.


Buy American - Suggested Contract Language 

A new memo from the USDA, released at the end of June, includes clarifications on the Buy American Provision as well as suggested contract language to be used in solicitations. Read more at 

Eligibility Manual for 2017-2018 
The 2017 edition of the Eligibility Manual for school meals, including clarification and guidance on Federal requirements and procedures, is available at

Local Agency Procurement Review Memo 
New guidance released by the USDA allows state agencies to complete procurement reviews on the same 3-year cycle as administrative reviews or alternate the cycle. Read more at

Reimbursement Rates & Donated Foods Values 
Notice has been given that the national average minimum value of donated foods, or cash in lieu thereof, per lunch under the NSLP shall be 23.25 cents for the period July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018. This is a quarter cent increase from the previous school year. Details are available at 

Earlier this year, the USDA released a memo on Equipment Assistance Grants for School Food Authorities which allocates the $25 million provided by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 and outlines the conditions, reporting requirements, funding goals, and timelines for the grants.

The full content of this memo and related information is available at

Take a look at the breakdown of the top five equipment categories in k-12 schools by award volume according to the database. These categories represent where the highest dollar amounts were awarded on bids for the 2016-2017 school year and may reflect where funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act may be spent. 

Check out these downloadable presentations  
from ANC 2017 to learn more: 

Food Waste - The Latest Movement :  Learn about the latest movement to stem food waste from SNA Past President Jean Ronnei, including practical ideas and innovations from schools and restaurants to help you reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Food Waste Reduction Strategies & Methods USDA staff, EPA representatives, and school nutrition directors explore the options to reduce food waste through food-serving strategies, food donations, food sharing tables, and recycling.  
Reducing Waste with Food Recovery & Donation Approaches: USDA representatives provide practical tips to start a food recovery program, and explain food safety considerations that are outlined in the Comprehensive Guideline to Food Recovery.

Share Tables: USDA Policy & Safety Considerations for Success:  Share tables are a great way to fight food waste. Learn more about them and determine if and how they can be successfully implemented in a school nutrition operation.  
Which products do YOU want to see?

New and updated products are coming to BidAdvantage for Schools soon!  Tell us what products YOU want to see!

Upcoming events 
October 9-13, 2017: National School Lunch Week

January 21-23, 2018: School Nutrition Industry Conference in New Orleans, L.A.

March 4-6, 2018: Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C. 

Del Real Foods
Dole Packaged Foods
 Jiffy Foodservice
JKL Specialty Foods
TH Foods