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Product reformulation and nutritional improvements after new competitive food standards in schools

  • Jaquelyn L Jahn (a1), Juliana FW Cohen (a2) (a3), Mary T Gorski-Findling (a4), Jessica A Hoffman (a5), Lindsay Rosenfeld (a6) (a7), Ruth Chaffee (a5), Lauren Smith (a8) and Eric B Rimm (a3) (a9)...

Abstract

Objective

In 2012, Massachusetts enacted school competitive food and beverage standards similar to national Smart Snacks. These standards aim to improve the nutritional quality of competitive snacks. It was previously demonstrated that a majority of foods and beverages were compliant with the standards, but it was unknown whether food manufacturers reformulated products in response to the standards. The present study assessed whether products were reformulated after standards were implemented; the availability of reformulated products outside schools; and whether compliance with the standards improved the nutrient composition of competitive snacks.

Design

An observational cohort study documenting all competitive snacks sold before (2012) and after (2013 and 2014) the standards were implemented.

Setting

The sample included thirty-six school districts with both a middle and high school.

Results

After 2012, energy, saturated fat, Na and sugar decreased and fibre increased among all competitive foods. By 2013, 8 % of foods were reformulated, as were an additional 9 % by 2014. Nearly 15 % of reformulated foods were look-alike products that could not be purchased at supermarkets. Energy and Na in beverages decreased after 2012, in part facilitated by smaller package sizes.

Conclusions

Massachusetts’ law was effective in improving the nutritional content of snacks and product reformulation helped schools adhere to the law. This suggests fully implementing Smart Snacks standards may similarly improve the foods available in schools nationally. However, only some healthier reformulated foods were available outside schools.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

* Corresponding author: Email jlj081@mail.harvard.edu

References

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1. US Department of Agriculture (2013) National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: nutrition standards for all foods sold in school as required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. 7 CFR Parts 210–220. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2013-title7-vol4/CFR-2013-title7-vol4-part210 (accessed November 2017).
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Product reformulation and nutritional improvements after new competitive food standards in schools

  • Jaquelyn L Jahn (a1), Juliana FW Cohen (a2) (a3), Mary T Gorski-Findling (a4), Jessica A Hoffman (a5), Lindsay Rosenfeld (a6) (a7), Ruth Chaffee (a5), Lauren Smith (a8) and Eric B Rimm (a3) (a9)...

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