school lunch

New Report Shows Decade of Trends in School Meals

Dan Education, This Land of Ours, USDA-ERS

Tracking ten years of changes to produce in school lunches. That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.

Tray of food in a school canteen

One USDA department tracked changes in school lunches for the last ten years and found that a 2012 change in school meal nutrition standards drove changes in the type of foods schools purchased. USDA’s Economic Research Service found that following the change in standards, schools obtained more fruits and vegetables through USDA Foods and especially through USDA’s Department of Defense Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.


While there was no clear change from 2006 to 2012, there was a rise from 6.7 percent in 2012 to 15 percent in 2017. Fruit obtained through AMS—mainly canned and frozen—rose from 9.4 percent of total USDA Foods spending in 2012 to 15.4 percent in 2017. Vegetables obtained from USDA’s AMS slightly rose from 2012 to 2017. As the spending on fruits and vegetables increased, the percentage spent on meat, poultry, and cheese dropped from nearly 74 percent in 2012 to 61 percent in 2017. 

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land of Ours program here.

New Report Shows Decade of Trends in School Meals

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.