NPD on School Lunches

October 8/Law & Health Weekly --  As Congress considers the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which determines federal school food policies and resources, The NPD Group reports that schools are the primary provider of at-school lunches for students. NPD's Lunchtime Mealscape, which explores the drivers of lunchtime food and beverage choices, finds that approximately 64% of lunches are school provided, 28% are carried from home, and 8% are obtained from other sources.

According to NPD's Lunchtime Mealscape, the top school prepared foods and beverages consumed by kids, ages 6 to 12, are milk, sandwiches (including burgers and hot dogs), fruit and fruit salad, pizza, chicken, French fries, tap water, and cookies.

Top 10 School-prepared Foods Consumed by 6 to 12 Year-olds
% of kids who consume
1. Milk 77%
2. Sandwiches 44%
3. Fruit/fruit salad 35%
4. Vegetables 24%
5. Pizza 23%
6. Fruit drinks 19%
7. Chicken 13%
8. French fries 12%
9. Tap Water 9%
10. Cookies 9%
Source: The NPD Group /Lunchtime Mealscape

NPD also tracks usage of foodservice at secondary schools through its CREST OnSite® service, which includes foodservice operations at business and industry, lodging, hospitals, colleges and universities, senior care, and military segments. According to the CREST OnSite data for the year ending June 2009, the top foods and beverages chosen by students at secondary school cafeterias are milk, sandwiches, bottled water, pizza, fruit, burgers and vegetables -- only milk and sandwiches were included in more meals this past year, while incidence of bottled water and pizza dropped.

From the October 12, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition