School foodservice directors' perceptions of value and cost of using agriculture commodities in child nutrition programs

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2006-01-01
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Jirka, Barbara
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Jeannie Sneed
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Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management provides an interdisciplinary look into areas of aesthetics, leadership, event planning, entrepreneurship, and multi-channel retailing. It consists of four majors: Apparel, Merchandising, and Design; Event Management; Family and Consumer Education and Studies; and Hospitality Management.

History
The Department of Apparel, Education Studies, and Hospitality Management was founded in 2001 from the merging of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies; the Department of Textiles and Clothing, and the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management.

Dates of Existence
2001 - present

Related Units

  • College of Human Sciences (parent college)
  • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies (predecessor)
  • Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management (predecessor)
  • Department of Textiles and Clothing (predecessor)
  • Trend Magazine (student organization)

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Commodity foods are available to child nutrition programs (CNP) through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Distribution Program. Using USDA commodity foods creates costs for CNP due to non-value-added expenses such as storage and delivery. Programs such as net off invoice (NOI) have been implemented in the past five years to remove non-value costs. Use of these programs is voluntary by the state distribution agency, manufacturers, and distributors. The purpose of this research was to compare CNP director perceptions on cost and value of commodity foods in states that use NOI and perceptions of CNP directors in states that do not use NOI as a value pass through (VPT) method;Methods. Qualitative and quantitative research using focus group and a survey design method were used to determine CNP director use of NOI and perceptions of cost and nutrient content of commodity foods in CNP. A total of 2,868 letters containing a website link to an Internet survey were emailed to CNP directors in 8 purposely selected states. Four states used NOI (Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas) and 4 states did not (Georgia, Massachusetts, Missouri, and Washington). States were selected based on volume of commodities used, number of CNP directors to obtain a similar sample size of those using NOI and not using non-NOI, and availability of email addresses;Results. Study results indicated 75% of CNP directors had unused commodity foods at the end of the school year with 95% reporting end-of-year delivery as the reason for unused commodity foods. CNP directors in NOI states reported left over entitlement dollars and commodity food inventory remaining at the end of the year less often than CNP directors in non-NOI states do. NOI was the VPT system preferred by the majority of CNP directors in NOI and non-NOI states. CNP directors in NOI and non-NOI states agreed that diverting bulk commodity foods to manufacturers for further processing reduced labor costs and allowed directors to serve commodities in forms students preferred. More CNP directors in NOI states agreed or strongly agreed nutrition was more important than cost when making food purchase decisions for CNP;Conclusions and applications. Increased use of NOI by more states, distributors, and manufacturers may reduce the non-value-added cost of using commodity foods, allow more flexibility for CNP directors to receive commodity foods through commercial distribution channels, therefore provide more options to choose commodity foods with nutrient content desired. Eliminating commodity food storage will help remove non-value-added costs in commodity distribution for CNP directors. Research is needed to quantify the amount of commodity food inventory and entitlement dollars left at the end of the school year and determine reasons for end-of-year delivery;Additional research is needed to determine how commodity distribution decisions are made at the state level. To continue improving commodity programs, increased education for CNP directors, state distribution agencies, and manufacturers on efficient commodity processing programs is needed.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2006