June 2017
Summer of 2017 is finally here!
We made it through another school year, another set of regulation updates, and another bid season.

For many though, the work continues.
Whether in the form of serving a summer meal program, developing new and innovative products for next school year, providing guidance and training to school nutrition professionals, or strengthening working relationships, we know that many of you are looking forward to a productive summer.

Here's the latest in trending topics, industry news, and valuable resources to help make summer 2017 the best yet.

Thank you to all of our readers, clients, and industry members for your continued support. 

We've rounded up all of the new and trending resources to help you promote your Summer School Food Service Program this year. Take a look at what's available for summer 2017:

Raise Awareness
Find flyers, postcards, bookmarks, and other promotional materials to help spread the word about your Summer Meals program at   Find activity guides, placemats, and posters at  
Reimbursement Rates 
The USDA has released the 2017 Reimbursement Rates for the Summer Food Service Program. Read the details here:

Get Guidance 
Need a refresher on the regulations and requirements of the Summer Food Service Program?  Look no further than, where you'll find everything you need to know all in one place.

Safety First 
The Summer Meals Food Safety Training Guide from the Institute of Child Nutrition will help ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in your summer meal program. Download the full training guide at 

In our spring newsletter, we asked you to tell us what you thought should change in the future of school nutrition, if anything. Here is a summary of the responses that we received:

Thank you to everyone who responded to this survey!

New Flexibility in School Nutrition
The USDA announced new flexibilities in the School Nutrition Program for the 2017-2018 school year on May 1, 2017. Key modifications include:
  • Sodium:  For School Years 2017-2018 through 2020, schools will not be required to meet Sodium Target 2. Schools that meet Sodium Target 1 will be considered compliant.
  • Whole-Grains:  The USDA will allow states to grant exemptions to schools experiencing hardship in serving 100% of grain products as whole-grain rich for School Year 2017-2018.
  • Milk:  The USDA is expected to publish an interim rule that will allow schools to serve 1% flavored milk through the school meals programs.
During this time, the USDA will continue to work on long term plans and solutions to keep school meals healthy and appealing for all students.

New ICN eLearning Portal
The Institute of Child Nutrition has a new eLearning Portal that launched earlier this month. The new portal is meant to provide an improved and more mobile-friendly learning environment. Be sure to register at to access the new course catalog.

There's no better time to dive into milk than now! Not only is June National Dairy Month, but with the new flexibilities in school meals now allowing schools to serve 1% flavored milk through the school meal systems we expect to see some changes in school menus and purchasing trends. Data from the database currently show that fat-free flavored milk has been increasing over the past 5 school years, whereas low-fat flavored milk has steadily declined. We expect to see these trends either even out or reverse themselves over the next few school years with the new flexibility.

BidAdvantage for Manufacturer Notifications 
The email notifications sent out through all BidAdvantage for Manufacturer systems have a new look!  You will still see the basic information and be able to click a link in the email to log into the system, but the information will look a little different. Here's an example of what you'll now see: 

Product Type Updates
Cheese Sauce
The subcategory "cheese sauce" has been expanded in the database, the Analytics tool, and in all BidAdvantage for Manufacturer systems. Cheese sauce now includes the following subcategories:
  • Bulk
  • Cheese Sauce Mix
  • Individual
  • Unspecified

Pizza Dough

The subcategory "pizza dough" has been moved from Bakery Products to Pizza in the database, the Analytics tool, and in all BidAdvantage for Manufacturer systems. 


All email notifications, saved searches, and Analytics reports have already been updated based on your company's product types. You should continue to receive information that is relevant to you, but if you have any questions please contact us at [email protected]. 

July is National Blueberry Month! It may still be June, but July is right around the corner and you can never be too prepared for a good holiday! The USDA started celebrating July as blueberry month back in 2003 and while there are endless ways to celebrate, we've rounded up just a few:
Blueberry Festivals
VirginiaChincoteague Blueberry Festival:  July 21-23 on Chincoteague Island, V.A.
MinnesotaBlueberry Festival in Lake George:  July 28-30 in Lake George, M.N.
PennsylvaniaHistoric Bethlehem Blueberry Festival:  July 15-16 in Bethlehem, P.A.
South Carolina:   Roper Mountain Living History Farm Blueberry Festival:  July 8 in Greenville, S.C. 
WashingtonMossyrock Blueberry Festival:  August 4-6 in Mossyrock, W.A.    

Blueberry Data 
Did you know, approximately 87% of blueberries on bid awards for the 2016-2017 school year were for frozen blueberries versus only approximately 7% for fresh blueberries? Also during the 2016-2017 school year, the average price of blueberries across the country was $2.30 per pound!


Blueberry Recipes
Check out this recipe for blueberry granola bars, specifically for k-12 schools, from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. Visit for the full recipe and nutritional information.


  • 5 cups (1 pound) rolled oats
  • 0.75 cup (6 ounces) vegetable oil
  • 1.5 cups (10.5 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 0.66 cup (5.25 ounces) frozen whole eggs, thawed: OR 2 large fresh eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 0.5 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 cups (6.5 ounces) whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups (1 pound) blueberries, frozen (not thawed)


  • Combine oats and 0.25 cup vegetable oil
  • Spread on rimmed baking sheet
  • Bake at 350 degrees F 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden
  • Cool
  • Beat together brown sugar, remaining 0.5 cup oil, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and salt
  • Beat in the flour until smooth
  • Stir in cooled oatmeal mixture until blended
  • Immediately stir in the firmly frozen blueberries
  • Pat the dough into 12x20x2.5-inch steamtable pan lined with aluminum foil, coated with non-stick cooking spray; Press very firmly
  • Bake until lightly browned: Conventional oven: 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes Convection oven: 325 degrees F for 25-35 minutes
  • Cool
  • Cut 6 x 8 (48 pieces)
Blueberry Benefits
Did you know...
-  Blueberries are one of the few fruits that are native to North America.
-  One cup of blueberries has only 80 calories.
-  Blueberry plants are perennials, meaning they can come back and grow year after year.
-  Blueberries are a good source of fiber, manganese, and Vitamin C.

Have you ever tried kalettes? How about koji? We've rounded up a few of the new foods making their popular debut in stores, restaurants, and on menus across the country. Which one will you try?

Kale Spouts
Commonly known by their brand name, Kalettes, kale sprouts are a hybrid of kale and Brussells sprouts. Described as having a sweet and nutty flavor, kale sprouts are being added to stir fry dishes, pasta, kebabs, or eaten raw as a healthy snack.

Have you had soy sauce, miso soup, or sake? If so, then you may have had koji and not even known it! Koji is actually a type of fungus used in various Asian countries to ferment and transform foods and has been around for thousands of years. Koji is only now becoming a popular cooking method in the west and is being applied to western foods in non-traditional ways.

Nutritional Yeast
Long popular with vegetarians and vegans for it's B-complex vitamins, nutritional yeast is gaining popularity with omnivores as well. Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast that can be used as an ingredient or a condiment and may be sold in powder or flakes. The flavor is similar to a cheesy or nutty cream and is quite strong so a little goes a long way!

The largest fruit that grows on trees, jackfruit is native to South and Southeast Asia. The flesh of the fruit is high in vitamin C and the large seeds are rich in protein. The fruit is described as having citrus notes, somewhere between a pineapple and a banana, while the seeds, when cooked, are similar to chestnuts. Jackfruit can be enjoyed raw, dried, fried, or as popularly seen - as a pulled barbecue dish!

Pronounced OO-Bae, this bright purple yam originated in the Philippines and is now being used to color and flavor many different dishes in the U.S. With a creamy texture and mildly sweet flavor, Ube is being lauded as the next big thing in desserts.

Darlington Snacks
Highland Beef Farms
JTK Trading
M & B Products
SunOpta Food Group
The Signature Food Group
Trade Supplies