Interflex halloween-frog.jpg
October 2014
In This Issue
Tips & Tricks
Vendor Profiles
Bid Lingo
Trendy Terms
News from the AHG
Need Help?
Did you Know?
ANC Recap
Tis the Season

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New Beginnings

The start of the 2014-2015 school year brings with it a tide of new beginnings for the school food service industry. Smart Snacks in Schools are being implemented, manufacturers continue to reformulate and improve their products, and industry members are bringing innovations to the k-12 channel like never before.

What lies before us a new year with new challenges, but also a fresh start and the opportunity to succeed.

Are you ready for the new school year? Gear up with Interflex's Fall Newsletter, full of resources, tips, tricks, and data.

Tips & Tricks

This is the time of year to start planning for the upcoming bid season. One of the ways you can prepare yourself is to use to create a Target Calendar, which will show you bids that were issued during specific months last year. Because schools bid on a cyclical schedule, you can expect those same schools and cooperatives to issue similar bids around the same time this coming year. Looking at past bid history will guide you in planning for future bid opportunities.

Follow our step-by-step guide to build a Target Calendar custom fit for your needs.

Do you subscribe to AwardedBids Analytics?
Login to find Target Calendars already built for your product types:

Have you completed your vendor profile?  

With the school year now in session, school districts are looking to the BidAdvantage for Schools Product Database for nutritionals, allergen information, updated product codes, and more. If your information isn't already in the database, contact us to get started.

What is the BidAdvantage for Schools Product Database?
  • For Manufacturers:  an easy way to communicate your company and product information to school districts while they're building their specifications. Instead of relying on them coming to your website, bring it directly to them in the database.
  • For Schools:  a central location where you can find product descriptions, codes, packaging, nutrition facts, allergen information, sell sheets, ingredient lists, and other downloadable documents, website links, and more.
Bid Lingo 

Ever feel like specifications are written in a foreign language? We're here to help decode those specs and simplify the bid process for you. During our roundtable sessions at ANC in Boston this year, one of the things we heard was that the "bid lingo" associated with specifications can be confusing, especially for those new to the industry. Here are some common expressions seen on bids to get you started:

Acronym: What it means: Application: 
TFF Trans Fat-Free Federal regulations in the Child Nutrition program require products served to have 0g trans fat per serving. 
ESL Extended Shelf Life Often associated with egg and dairy specifications, an extended shelf life is achieved through a variety of techniques from packaging techniques to additives and/or preservatives and other methods. An extended shelf life means the products will remain unspoiled for a longer period of time. 
FTO  Freezer to Oven Used to describe products that can be taken directly from their frozen state and placed in an oven to be prepared. 
MDW Minimum Drained Weight Applied to canned goods to indicate the minimum weight of product in the can after the liquid has been drained away. 
Navigating Trendy Terms falling_leaves.jpg


You hear them on commercials, see them in the grocery store, and their popularity only seems to be growing. But what do those trendy terms like natural and organic really mean? Check out our crash course on these fast-growing words in foodservice mean to you:
Natural vs. Organic
The term "natural" is only regulated when used to describe meat, poultry, and egg products. Meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as "natural" must not contain artificial ingredients or added color and must be minimally processed. Any other products labeled as "natural" are not regulated in their definition and the meaning can vary widely depending on the location and the manufacturer and processor's standards.

"Organic" items, however, are regulated by federal standards set and enforced by the USDA National Organic Program. The complete set of USDA organic regulations can be found in 7 CFR Section 205. An overview of the requirements organic products must meet are outlined below:

Organic products are produced without ionizing radiation, genetic engineering, synthetic fertilizers, prohibited pesticides, or sewage sludge. 
>  The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances dictates which substances may and may not be used in the production of organic items. 
>  Organic farmers use practices that foster ecological balance, conservation of biodiversity, promote cycling of resources and other forms of environmental stewardship such as fertility and nutrient management in soil.
> Preventative and physical means of managing pests are used before approved pesticides.
>  Organic livestock operations use 100% organic feed, provide access to the outdoors, and maintain a pasture plan for grazing animals. Different requirements are in place for different types of animals. To learn more visit the USDA Organic Standards 101 and 201 training modules. 
>  Organic handlers and processors must prevent commingling or contamination with non-organic products and prevent pests using only approved practices.

Only products with 95% or more organic content can be labeled with the "USDA Organic" seal. Other labels you may see include "Made with Organic Ingredients," which indicates that at least 70% of the content is organic. If less than 70% of ingredients in a product are organic, the organic ingredients can be individually denoted in the ingredient list but the product cannot carry the "USDA Organic" label.

Cage Free vs. Free Range
The USDA defines "free-range" as a flock provided with shelter with unlimited access to food, fresh water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their production cycle. The outdoor area can be covered/netted or fenced.

"Cage-free" indicates that the flock was allowed to roam a building, room, or sheltered area with unlimited access to food and fresh water during their production cycle. They are not necessarily allowed continuous access to the outdoors.

Locally Grown  
The definition of "local" can vary widely. For example, what your grocery store considers local produce may mean that the products are from within a 50 mile radius, that they are from your home state, or that they are from your region of the country. When placing "local" items on your bid, or when responding to a bid asking for "local" items, be sure that all parties involved are in agreement on the definition of "local" in that scenario. For more guidance on bidding "local" items, visit the USDA Farm to School page on Local Procurement.

News from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation


AHG New Logo

The Alliance & CDC launch updated School Health Index assessment tool

Working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its School Health Index (SHI). The 2014 SHI guides school-based obesity prevention and health promotion efforts.The Alliance has replaced its Healthy Schools Program Inventory with the School Health Index. By offering a unified assessment tool, the CDC and the Alliance make it easier for schools to implement policies and practices that can help students stay healthy and ready to learn. Get started and learn more about assessing your school.


New for 2014-15! Alliance & HUSSC alignment

The Alliance's Healthy Schools Program and USDA's HealthierUS School Challenge have announced a new streamlined approach to achieve recognition through both programs with less paperwork. Visit


Gold School Snapshot: West Side High School Innovates and Inspires

West Side High School in New York City is a transfer school, designed to meet the needs of students that have not found success in traditional high school settings. Principal Jean McTavish believes this is even more reason to ensure these students attend a school that makes their health a priority. Listen to their story.


Smart Snacks How-To

The Alliance teamed up with the School Nutrition Association to launch a step-by-step process full of tools and resources, such as turnkey communications materials, presentations, and letters to your community, to ensure a successful Smart Snacks implementation. Learn more at

Need Help?
Interflex's team of customer service representatives are here for you.
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 Did you know...
BidAdvantage for Schools isn't just for bidding.
You'll also find specification templates meeting the Smart Snacks in School guidelines,
 a database chock-full of nutritional and product information,
and a team of dedicated individuals to help you along the way.
Plus, it's free.  
Contact us to learn more.
Annual National Conference 2014 Recap
The SNA's Annual National Conference was a resounding success this year thanks to all of you who attended our Roundtable Session and stopped by the booth. Your participation and enthusiasm continues to accelerate and improve school foodservice.

If you missed our Roundtable Session, you can review the presentation here.


Our ANC winner of the mini iPad drawing is Mark Bordeau from Binghamton City School District in New York. 

Congratulations Mark!
Tis the Season 
Autumn means changing leaves, kids going back to school, and cooler weather. The season can also affect what's happening in school foodservice. Check out our mini-roundup of seasonal news:

The Great Pumpkin 
According to the database, pumpkin sales nationwide increased over 9% from the 2012-2013 school year to the 2013-2014 school year. 
National Farm to School Month 
October is National Farm to School Month! Schools across the country are celebrating their connections with local farmers, the local food their students enjoy, and the educational opportunities presented by the program. 

Not involved in Farm to School yet? Check out what it takes to get started over at the National Farm to School Network page. And don't forget to visit to see what the USDA is doing to celebrate during the month of October.

Get in the Game 
This year's National School Lunch Week's theme is "Get in the Game with School Lunch" and is all about promoting both healthy eating and physical activity. Get ready to celebrate October 13th through 17th. Find resources and ideas to make the week a success from the School Nutrition Association, where you'll find toolkits and activity sheets to download, recipes, and promotional materials. 
 A warm welcome to our newest clients:
Bridgford Foods 
Chef's Corner
Dakota Grower's Pasta Co.
Del Monte
Dr. Pepper Snapple Group
Island Oasis
Preferred Meals
Steve's Frozen Chillers
T. Marzetti
Talking Rain

Trellis Earth

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