Schuster’s Blog: Universal school meals, ultra-processed food, Lucky Charms update and more. | Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB)

Schuster’s Blog: Universal school meals, ultra-processed food, Lucky Charms update and more.

Posted by: and on Monday September 26, 2022

As some states support school meals, some colleges cut back on dining options, a new cereal on-the-go (no milk needed), Lizzo’s ‘cart,’ ultra-processed food, paycheck advance apps – yet another way people may pay for food and more!


Food at school/colleges

A handful of states (CA, ME, MA, NV, VT) now have universal school meals; CT offers it for part of the year and this November Colorado voters will decide its fate; MN, NY, WI, NC, MD plans to introduce legislation (https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/09/07/1101550783/free-school-meals-kids-hunger). More NJ students now qualify for school lunch due to state bill (https://www.nj.com/education/2022/09/more-nj-students-will-get-free-school-meals-as-murphy-signs-law.html). PA implements universal breakfast this school year (https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/round-up-gov-wolf-announces-universal-free-breakfast-program-for-1-7-million-pennsylvania-school-children/). Higher food costs mean some college dining halls offer smaller portions, more plant-based items and fewer salad bar options (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-31/college-dining-halls-adapt-menus-to-gird-against-food-inflation).


Food news/food online

FDA closes 4-month Lucky Charms investigation over 8,000 self-reports of illness. The investigation included interviews in 4 states. There is currently no known cause for the reported symptoms (https://www.fooddive.com/news/fda-closes-investigation-into-reported-illnesses-from-lucky-charms/631572/). Cereal on-the-go has milk powder and only needs added water for $1.98; comes in 4 varieties; this author provides her/her husband’s review; a non-dairy option may follow (https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/08/business-food/kelloggs-new-cereal/index.html). And in other cereal news, collectible toys return to cereal boxes (https://www.chewboom.com/2022/09/05/general-mills-welcomes-back-collectible-cereal-squad-toys-with-tribute-to-the-90s/). Chocolate/candy companies meet/exceed goals of offering 200 calorie options and front-of-package labeling (https://candyusa.com/news/new-pha-report-chocolate-and-candy-companies-are-providing-more-transparency/). Gummy Lunchables…they look like food (cracker stacks, pizza) but taste like fruit! (https://www.candyindustry.com/articles/90645-frankford-candy-launches-gummy-lunchables). Fast Twitch, caffeinated Gatorade, coming February 2023 (https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2022/09/02/Gatorade-debuts-Fast-Twitch-the-go-to-energy-drink-option-designed-for-athletes). $4.99 deli sandwich goes viral (https://www.grocerydive.com/news/how-sprouts-5-deli-sandwich-went-viral-this-summer/631269/). Lizzo’s Instacart ‘Cart’ – Takis, Skittles, Coke, cherries, bananas and more – read reactions, details of what’s in her cart (https://www.supermarketnews.com/online-retail/instacart-partners-lizzo-5-takeaways-grocery), (https://nypost.com/2022/08/25/lizzo-teams-up-with-instacart-for-the-world-is-your-cart/) and (https://www.supermarketguru.com/the-lempert-report/lizzo-instacart/. Paycheck advance apps are heavily advertised and many low wage workers use them to buy food; some apps are problematic as some charge subscription, per-use or overdraft fees; others are offered by employers. Beware as they are unregulated! (https://www.consumerreports.org/hidden-costs/paycheck-advance-apps-benefits-and-dangers-a6358016504/). Automated robotic machines serve smoothies at Walmart, rest stops and other locations; already on some campuses; fast casual restaurants looking into this strategy (https://restaurantbusinessonline.com/technology/jamba-put-smoothie-making-robots-loves-rest-stops).


Online

Ultra-processed foods are in the news; Intelligence Squared held a debate about it you can listen in a podcast or online (https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debate/should-we-eat-more-processed-foods/); about the debate (https://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Article/2022/08/17/How-useful-is-ultra-processed-as-a-tool-to-measure-packaged-foods-health-impact). ERS (Economic Research Service) charts of note provide info about ag and other topics such as locally sourced foods in school lunch by food category; inflation by food category and more (https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/charts-of-note/). Want to hear about new food items/consumer trends? Each Monday watch a 30-minute segment, Lempert Live, with 2 food retail experts @ supermarketguru.com. Beginning October 2022 Google ads must meet new ad standards including no pop-up ads, flashing animated ads and more (https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-will-reject-ads-leading-to-pages-with-intrusive-advertising/463648/).

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