K-12 School Meal Participation in FY 2013: What's Up and What's Not

In this consultant's view, K-12 school meal participation rates for 2012-13 suggest that the federal school meal program is shifting in terms of its traditional role.

The implementation of new federally-mandated menu planning regulations in school food service last year caused turmoil in the industry.  Both operators and vendors have reported declining sales and participation.  Yet the press has been full of contrasting stories: about kids rejecting the new meals and schools dropping out of the program; and at the same time, of schools with high acceptance and kids who like the new fare. 

Official USDA reports repeatedly have said that sc

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