Researching the School Nutrition Industry


The School Nutrition Association is continuously involved in investigating the latest trends, factors and issues impacting school nutrition. This research is designed and conducted to meet needs of Association members and the general public. The Association also conducts secondary research and literature reviews to monitor the external environmental factors influencing the profession.

School Nutrition Trends and Market Research

SNA Research Reports and Studies (Available in the Bookstore)

  • NSLP and SBP Tracking: SNA is tracking national participation levels for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program - specifically comparing the participation rates for the 2012-13 school year with those from the 2011-12 school year. Data is updated as it is made available by USDA.
  • School Nutrition In Focus Research : Throughout the 2012-13 school year, SNA collected information from school districts to begin to understand the impacts of the new meal pattern regulations and other changes occurring in school nutrition programs. This summary report represents the first phase of this research.
  • District Profiles: An online database of individual school nutrition program profiles that provide a snapshot of key aspects of a program’s operation.
  • Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition: the 2013 edition is a valuable, easy-to-use reference with critical information about school nutrition programs in a compact resource.
  • trendSETS Resources : Provides information and insights on hot topics in school nutrition.
  • 2013 Back to School Trends Report :  Annual trends in school nutrition policies, popular food items, funding and economic issues, and efforts made to improve healthy food availability.
  • School Nutrition Operations Report, 2011: Benchmarking school nutrition operational practices including information on programs, nutrition policies, customer service, marketing, budgeting and staffing.
  • Well Done! School Nutrition Professionals Put Wellness Policies to Work: A compilation of examples of school nutrition programs and their allies in the school and community who have used their Local School Wellness policy to make positive changes to their school environment.

SNA Peer-reviewed Research

  • The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management is the premier peer-reviewed school nutrition journal. The Journal features the latest research information on current issues impacting child nutrition and school foodservice operations. Each issue is published quarterly.

Child Nutrition Showcase

Each year at the Annual National Conference, child nutrition research projects are presented in poster session format at the Child Nutrition Showcase. Projects feature best practices in marketing and customer service, nutrition education, training and staff development, innovative ideas and practices, and research related to child nutrition programs. School foodservice professionals including, directors, managers, college students, researchers, and others are welcome to submit abstracts for the CN Showcase.

SNF Research Partnership

The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) plays an integral role in School Nutrition Association research. SNF advances the study of child nutrition and school foodservice by supporting and funding Association research initiatives. SNF, SNA’s sister organization, provides funding and support for a variety of Association research projects.

Research by Topic

A wide range of research studies from government, academic and organization sources, organized by topic, can be accessed through SNA's 'Research by Topic' Resource Center page. Topics include: breakfast, cost/funding, commodities, competitive foods, dairy, food safety, fruits and vegetables, healthy childhood weight, program accountability, summer feeding, wellness and more. Click here: Research by Topic

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