April 2014
In This Issue
What's New at Interflex
Ask the Experts
Smart Snacks
Lactose Intolerance
Interflex Team Member
Updates from the AHG

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April Showers...

It is said that April showers bring May flowers, and in the school food service industry April also brings a new bid cycle. 

This bid season will present industry members across the nation with challenges as we face new competitive food guidelines and ever-growing demands.

Fortunately, we are also presented with budding resources, success stories from colleagues to inspire us, as well as newly developed tools to help us on our way. It may not feel like spring quite yet, but it certainly feels like bid season! 
Did you know... 
approximately 24.6% of all bids
 are issued in the month of April
(according to AwardedBids.com data) 
See you there! 
Meet up with Interflex at the following events:

ACDA Annual Conference:  April 27 - 29, 2014 in Austin, TX 
Contact Amy Neal to schedule a meeting and learn more about the resources Interflex offers. 

Illinois SNA Annual Conference:  June 24 - 26, 2014 in Springfield, IL

Attend our presentation on Tuesday, June 24 at 3:45pm:  BidAdvantage for Schools: Bid Smart, Simple: a free, online procurement tool built to help schools and cooperatives write specifications, find manufacturer product information, and streamline the bid process electronically.   

SNA's Annual National Conference
:  July 13 - 16, 2014 in Boston, MA
Attend our roundtable session:  A Total Bidding Resource for the Entire Supply Chain: learn about a free procurement tool that allows school operators, manufacturers, distributors, and brokers to work together and create specifications, issue bids and simplify procurement. This session is available at two times: Sunday, July 13 at 8:15am and again at 12pm in Room 152 - (Level 1) - CC

Contact us to schedule a meeting: (800)293-2909 or
What's New at Interflex 

Updates to the Interflex Vendor Bidding Solution: 
Vendors responding to bids issued through the BidAdvantage for Schools procurement tool now have the ability to manage their quotes directly in the system (without having to fill out and upload an Excel spreadsheet). Vendors can also upload bid documents into the system to return them to the school district electronically.

Improvements to AwardedBids.com:  
AwardedBids has a new look! The site now lets you search and setup notifications by award type and shipment type. The programmers have made some performance improvements as well. So when searching, you will notice your results will come back much quicker. We are really proud of our development team's ability to adapt to and utilize advancements in programming tools and techniques. Kirsten Snyder will do a short demo of the site on April 24th at 3:00pm EST. If you would like to join, please  register here.
Got a Question? 
To get ready for our roundtable presentation at ANC in Boston we want to embody our tagline: Everybody Get Together. Use the button below to submit your questions anonymously regarding procurement, regulations, or other related topics. We'll have industry experts help answer the best questions in our next newsletter. Whether you're a manufacturer, a school food service professional, a broker, a distributor, or an industry partner, submit your questions and we'll bring everyone together to get some answers!
Spotlight on Smart Snacks: Beverages     
Yet another round of new regulations are headed our way, effective July 1, 2014 - this time focusing on all competitive foods & beverages sold in schools. Snack and a la carte foods have their own set of rules and will be featured in an upcoming newsletter. To get started with Smart Snacks, let's break down the new regulations for beverages:   

To what do the new Smart Snack standards apply?
The new standards apply to all grade levels for all food and beverages sold outside of the reimbursable school meal programs on school campus from midnight the night before the school day until 30 minutes after the end of the official school day. This includes all a la carte sales, food and beverages sold in school stores, in vending machines, snack bars, and other venues.

What about state and local regulations?
The new federal standards are the minimum standard to which schools must adhere. State agencies and school districts may establish additional, stricter, standards as long they are still compliant with the federal standards.

Summary of Nutrition Standards for Beverages

Notes and Exceptions
Caffeine:  beverages at the elementary and middle school level must be caffeine-free, with the exception of trace amounts of naturally-occurring caffeine substances. There are no restrictions on caffeine at the high school level.

Food from home:  the Smart Snack standards do not apply to items brought from home by students, including those items brought from home for a special event such as a birthday party.

Fundraisers:  any items that meet the Smart Snack standards can be sold at fundraisers on school campus during school hours. The standards do not apply to items sold off school campus or outside of school hours. State agencies may establish rules for the number of fundraising activities that allow the sale of items that do not meet the Smart Snack standards.

For more information visit the following sources:

Water, Water Everywhere...


When thinking about beverages in terms of the new Smart Snacks standards, effective July 1, 2014, it is important to remember section 203 of the 2010 Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act, which requires schools participating in the NSLP to provide students with free, potable water wherever meals are being served. Although water must be made available, students are not required to take the water. This requirement has been effective since October 1, 2010. 


Free, potable water must be available:  

    • Wherever lunches are served during meal service
    • At breakfast, when served in the cafeteria

Schools are not required, but are encouraged to make water available for snacks served after school as well as during breakfast served in all other locations.  


The following chart shows the top 5 bid pack sizes for water for the 2013-2014 school year according to the data in AwardedBids.com. This data is representative of approximately 50% of the school foodservice market. 


To help get the water flowing, check out these resources:

of the water on school food service
bids in 2013-2014
was specified as flavored
(according to data from AwardedBids.com)

Lactose Intolerance & Milk Allergies 

Allergies to milk and lactose intolerance affect individuals worldwide and these special dietary needs can throw a wrench into your routine school meal program. Educate yourself on the dangers, the regulations, and the trends so you're prepared to deal with special dietary needs and can take advantage of the benefits dairy alternative beverages can provide.

What's the difference between Lactose Intolerance and a Milk Allergy?
Although they sound similar, a true milk allergy and an intolerance to lactose are completely different:


Milk Allergy 

Lactose Intolerance 


An allergy to milk occurs when a person's immune system overreacts to that specific food protein and triggers an allergic reaction.  

Lactose intolerance occurs in people who are missing the enzyme that breaks down, or digests, a sugar called lactose found in milk and dairy products. 


Reactions can range from mild symptoms such as hives, swelling, or rashes, to severe and potentially fatal symptoms such as trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, or anaphylaxis. 

Inability to digest milk and dairy products may cause bloating, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, gas, and other discomfort, however lactose intolerance is not life-threatening. 


Check out Food Allergy Research & Education's on milk allergies and lactose intolerance here for more details.

How are allergies, intolerance, and dairy alternative beverages included in the school meal pattern guidelines? As with regular fluid milk, all lactose-reduced or lactose-free milk offered in schools must be low-fat or fat-free. If a school district decides to offer milk substitutes for students with medical or special dietary needs, the milk substitute beverages must provide specific nutrients and be fortified in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration listed in the following table:


Per Cup (8 fl oz)


 276 mg. 


 8 g. 

 Vitamin A 

 500 IU 

 Vitamin D 

 100 IU  


 24 mg. 


 222 mg.


 349 mg. 


 0.44 mg. 

 Vitamin B-12 

 1.1 mcg. 


For more information, please refer to: 7CFR Part 210 National School Lunch Program 


Will dairy alternative and milk substitute beverages become more popular in the future? 

According to data from AwardedBids.com, soy milk products are already increasing in school foodservice:



Featured Interflex Team Member
Devon McNamara:  Data Analyst 


Q:  What is your role at Interflex? 

A:   At Interflex, I work as a Data Analyst. That means helping others in the Customer Service department with customer reports and interpreting the bid data we receive, as well as analyzing and reviewing data in the system to help look at trends in the market place.


Q:  What are some of the biggest challenges in analyzing bid data?  

A:   Bid data comes in all different forms and we enter exactly what we receive from school districts and cooperatives. Challenges arise when the bid data we receive is inaccurate, unclear, or incomplete. For example, a school district may not provide a forecast unit, so we can't enter that into the system. Or they may provide pounds instead of cases that will need to be converted before analyzing.


Q:  What changes would you like to see to improve the quality of the data? 

A:   I would like to see changes in the overall bid process, mainly how schools issue the information. If there was a uniform procedure, or a standard bid process that would make my job a lot easier!


Q:  What is your favorite springtime activity?  

A:   Anything that involves getting outside! I love going hiking when the weather starts to warm up. 
News from The Alliance for a Healthier Generation

AHG New Logo


All You Need to Know About Smart Snacks in School

Q: Who needs to know about Smart Snacks in School?

A: Everyone!


This is exactly why the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the School Nutrition Association worked together to launch a series of tools to make Smart Snacks a success in your school district! Our online resource contains:

         A step-by-step guide to get started

         Turnkey presentations to educate different audiences about Smart Snacks

         Taste testing tools to engage students

         Sample newsletters to spread the word with parents and community members

         Fundraising ideas

         Real-time tools to help identify whether your products meet nutrition standards 

Learn more at www.healthiergeneration.org/smartsnacks  










Is your snack a Smart Snack?

Take the guesswork out of nutrition guidelines with the new Alliance for a Healthier Generation Smart Snacks Product Calculator! Simply enter the product information, answer a few questions, and determine whether your snack, side or entr�e item meets the new USDA Smart Snacks in School

Guidelines. Learn more here.

Specification Templates for Snacks
Find updated Specification Templates from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in
BidAdvantage for Schools. The new specification templates will help you meet the Smart Snacks competitive food guidelines and snack healthier!
 A warm welcome to our newest clients:
Interflex Inc. | 10 Commerce Dr. | Wyomissing, Pennsylvania 19610 | 1.800.293.2909