July 1 brings a significant change to vending machine companies that service schools. The new “Smart Snacks in School” rules affect any schools receiving assistance from the National School Lunch program.
According to the new rules, all snacks sold in schools must:
- Be whole-grain rich
- Have the first ingredient a veggie, fruit, dairy product or other protein-rich food if not a whole grain rich food
- Have a combination of these and naturally contain 10 percent of the daily value of calcium, vitamin D, potassium or dietary fiber
- Contain 200 or fewer calories for snacks
- Contain 350 or fewer calories for a la carte entrees
- Contain no more than 35% sugar by weight
- Contain no more than 230 mg of sodium
- Contain no more than 35% calories from fat
In addition, the rules require elementary schools to limit beverages to 8 fluid ounces, with a 12-fluid-ounce limit for older grades. Vending machines in elementary and high schools cannot offer beverages that have caffeine.
Vending machine companies that service schools need to understand the Smart Snacks in School rules, and start transitioning to offering items that fit these rules.