Milk is the top school food, survey finds

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Market research firm NPD Group recently looked at the source of children’s lunches during the school year and found that schools are the primary provider of at-school lunches for students.

NPD’s Lunchtime Mealscape, which looks into what’s offered in the way of school food and beverage choices, found that approximately 64% of lunches are school-provided, 28% are carried from home, and 8% are obtained from other sources.

According to the research firm, the top school-prepared foods and beverages consumed by kids ages 6 to 12 are milk, sandwiches (including burgers and hot dogs), fruit and fruit salad, pizza, chicken, French fries, tap water and cookies.

Here’s NPD’s list of the top 10 school-prepared foods consumed by 6- to 12 year-olds, and the percentage of children who consume them at lunch:

1. Milk, 77%
2. Sandwiches, 44%
3. Fruit / fruit salad, 35%
4. Vegetables, 24%
5. Pizza, 23%
6. Fruit drinks, 19%
7. Chicken, 13%
8. French fries, 12%
9. Tap water, 9%
10. Cookies, 9%

-- Jerry Hirsch