January 2017
A new year is here! And what better time is there to look to the future, to grow, and to improve?

Whether it's refining your procurement process, bettering communication, or taking on the school breakfast challenge, we encourage you to explore the opportunities awaiting in 2017.

We're excited to be a part of the journey that k-12 school food is on right now and look forward to working with each part of the supply chain. We hope to provide each of you with valuable resources, vital news, and the solutions necessary to tackle all of the challenges ahead this year.  

As always, we thank you - our readers, our clients, and our industry partners - for your continued support and for being a source of inspiration moving forward.  

As of December 2, 2016 Interflex has a new address:

Interflex, Inc. 
201 East Locust St. 
Fleetwood, P.A.  19522

Please update your information accordingly and  
pass along to the appropriate accounting personnel.

If you need additional information for your records, please contact us: / 800-293-2909 x106
Our phone number & web address remain the same. 
Procurement is more important now than ever before. Navigating the process can be complex and time-consuming, but with proper planning and a good understanding of procurement practices, even a novice can find success.

One of the most frequently asked questions is which type of procurement should be used? Regulations and thresholds can differ by state so we encourage you to check with your state agency and familiarize yourself with your state's procurement regulations. As a starting point, check out our flow-chart to help you decide which type of procurement is right for you: 

NOTE: This diagram is for informational purposes only.
Please consult your federal and state regulations for amounts that pertain to your procurement.

A number of new resources on procurement have recently become available. Here are our top picks:
  • Solving the Procurement Puzzle: a white paper report from the School Nutrition Association covering methodology, terminology, and best practices of school food procurement as well as an in-depth look at what is vs. what is not working in terms of the current process so that everyone involved can improve going forward.
  • To Bid or Not to Bid, that is (one of) the Question(s)! by Barry Sackin: from the September 2016 issue of school nutrition magazine, this article provides a detailed overview of the basics needed for proper procurement.
  • A Decent Proposal by Barry Sackin: from the November 2016 school nutrition magazine, this article spells out the best way to handle evaluation criteria for a successful RFP.
Now is the time of year to begin planning for the upcoming bid season. Subscribers of AwardedBids Analytics can view the most common types of packaging by product type, e.g. soups and bases. Users can also filter by the bid pack unit (e.g. cans vs. pounds), by bid unit (e.g. cases vs. servings), by the manufacturer bid, by state, or even by the ship type (e.g. distributor vs. manufacturer direct).

USDA Foods Available List for 2017-2018
The much-anticipated SY17-18 Foods Available List was shared with State Agencies in December and includes a summary that details all new, reformulated, and eliminated items.

FDA to Define "Healthy" on Food Labeling 
The US Food & Drug Administration is taking public comments on the matter and hopes to redefine how manufacturers use the term "healthy" on food labels to promote the production of healthier choices and to make it easier for shoppers to quickly identify nutritious foods. To read more and submit your comments, visit

You can also submit comments on the matter to FoodCorps at

USDA Memo Outlining Sodium Flexibility 
The USDA has released a memo regarding flexibility for the Target 2 Sodium Requirements for the 2017-2018 school year. Although Target 2 Sodium Requirements go into effect on July 1, 2017, the USDA is allowing some flexibility to aid in the transition. School food authorities are expected to be in compliance, but will not incur fiscal action during administrative reviews if they are not fully in compliance as long as they are working towards compliance. Read the full memo for more information. 
With cold weather prevailing, January is the perfect time to celebrate soup month and enjoy a hot cup of your favorite variety. Check out the most popular flavors of soup in k-12 schools from the 2015-2016 school year, according to 

colors_people_group.jpgProcurement can be tough, but there's no reason to go it alone. Many school districts find it beneficial to participate in a buying group, whether that means joining an existing group or forming a new group in your area. Below are some of the best resources available to help you do just that - check them out and get started! 

This memorandum from the USDA provides guidance on different procurement groups, how to use each effectively, as well as frequently asked questions on the subject.
This resource from the Food & Research Action Center provides information on the different types of buying groups, factors to consider, steps to help you get started, and a success story to inspire you. 

Check out pages 113 through 143 for detailed guidance on forming a cooperative, the pros and cons of cooperative purchasing, helpful templates, and tips for successful procurement through a cooperative. 

There are over 2,900 products from 66 manufacturers available for school nutrition professionals to access. Ready for a login to BidAdvantage for Schools? Contact us to get setup today.

Are you a manufacturer? Want to include your products in this database? 
Get in touch with us for more information and to get started. 

March 6th-10th we're celebrating National School Breakfast Week! This year's theme, "Take the School Breakfast Challenge," encourages students, parents, and everyone in the school community to start their day with a healthy breakfast. Learn more and find resources to help you celebrate on the School Nutrition Association's website.

Menu plans from the AHG! 
Looking for some inspiration to revamp your breakfast menus? Check out the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's breakfast menu plans! Below is a sneak peek of "Breakfast After the Bell - Cool & Collected" - a four week cycle menu for schools that don't have the equipment or capabilities to serve a hot breakfast. Click on the image to see all four weeks!

Recipes and Promotion Ideas from the USDA!
Breakfast recipes made specifically for schools, bulletin board decor, program regulations, tips for expanding your breakfast program, and more can be found on the USDA's website. Check these resources out ahead of time so you're prepared for National School Breakfast Week in March!

Action for Healthy Kids! 
This non-profit has a page dedicated to school breakfast where you'll find celebration ideas, tips, and additional resources. Our favorite celebration idea is inviting the school mascot to breakfast! Read more here.

January 22-24, 2017 

We'd love to see you there!

Learn more about the School Nutrition Industry Conference at 

Angie's / Boom Chicka Pop 
Buena Vista Food Products 
House of Raeford 
Inteplast Group, Ltd.
Masters Distributors 
My ECOplanet 
Performance Food Group - Little Rock
Post Consumer Brands