A Message from Your SNA President-Elect

The Calm Before the Storm?
As we ready this issue of Industry Insider, my thoughts are dominated by different types of storms. Most notably is the frigid weather that has held much of the U.S. in its grip since New Year's. That cold has receded—a bit—from South Dakota right now, but I've lived here long enough to know that there's much more winter to come. Are you preparing for the next blast? My neighbors and I stock the pantry, top off the gas tanks in our vehicles and make sure we have an alternative heat source should the power go out. How about you?

What preparations do you go through to handle business storms? In school nutrition, that’s likely to be the whirlwind of bid season. Whether you are introducing a new item to a successful line or dipping your toe in K-12 school nutrition for the first time, this is an ideal period to focus on learning all you can about the business so that you are ready to respond when RFPs and invitations to bid are published in early spring. Do you understand what your customers need to meet the demands of their customers—all while managing tight budgets, aging equipment and complex regulations? Do you understand many of the procurement requirements that directors are compelled to follow, ranging from Buy American restrictions to nutrition standards? SNA’s annual School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC) is just around the corner, January 21-23, in New Orleans and this year’s agenda is packed with procurement-related topics. I can’t think of a better preparation before the bid season storm begins!

Another potential storm on the horizon is the desire by some in Congress to eliminate the federal child nutrition programs in favor of block grant funding made to states. Block grants could have a devastating impact on school nutrition operations—and on the companies that serve this market. (Have you considered working in segment that has 50 different sets of nutrition or procurement rules?) We hope that, like the weather, the forecasts of future block grant proposals are wrong. But we must prepare in case in case they are right. Now is the time to learn everything you can about block grants and their impact on your business, on communities and on children. One of the best places to learn more and get answers to your questions about block grants is SNA's annual Legislative Action Conference, March 4-6 in Washington, D.C..

What I value most about my involvement in SNA are the opportunities to work together to share innovations and solve problems. We always keep our eyes looking forward—what's next? What can we do to ensure we're not caught off-guard? And who can help us through the hard times that inevitably lie ahead? I know I speak for so many of my colleagues in K-12 school nutrition: We are so grateful for our industry members who stand beside us to weather the storms. Thank you.


Gay Anderson, SNS
SNA President-Elect

Check out promotion opportunities in the Sponsorship Brochure!

In SNA's recently released 2017 School Nutrition Trends Report, nearly half of districts identified pasta/noodles as the product that presents the biggest challenge to meeting the whole grain rich mandate.


January 21-23, 2018
School Nutrition Industry Conference
New Orleans, LA

March 4-6, 2018
Legislative Action Conference
Washington, D.C.

May 9-10, 2018
Spring Industry Boot Camp
National Harbor, MD

July 9-12, 2018
Annual National Conference
Las Vegas, NV

More Meetings and Events

Upcoming SNA Webinars

SNS Credentialing Exam Dates

Industry Membership
SNA Research

Important Announcements

Become a Sponsor at SNA's Legislative Action Conference
Now is the time to contact SNA to increase your visibility at its Legislative Action Conference (LAC) and help build brand familiarity with potential clients. We still have one spot left for a Room Drop and we are still accepting contributions to Gem Club. For sponsorship opportunities, please see our 2018 Sponsorship Brochure. For more information, please contact SNA Business Development Associate Nicolette Daleske at ndaleske@schoolnutrition.org or SNA Exhibit Sales Manager Crystal Harper-Pierre at charper@schoolnutrition.org.

Industry Reps: Step Up Your Game at SNA's Spring Industry Boot Camp
Are you an industry representative new to the multi-billion-dollar school nutrition market -- or a seasoned veteran that wants to brush up on the intricacies of this complex segment? Designed specifically for our industry partners, SNA's Spring Industry Boot Camp, taking place May 9-10, 2018, in National Harbor, Md., is a dynamic educational seminar that provides a thorough overview of today's school nutrition environment, including new information on procurement ethics, a tour of a local cafeteria and a two-hour panel discussion with Major City School Nutrition Directors. Reserve your spot today as seating is limited.

2018 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes Sponsorship Opportunity Available
The 2018 Celebration of School Nutrition Heroes will be held on Monday, March 5, 2018, at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. during SNA's Legislative Action Conference. The Celebration is the only fundraising event that the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) holds to support its scholarship program. These top spots will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. Don't miss this opportunity! For information on sponsorships and the recognition at each level, click here. To indicate your commitment as a sponsor, click here. If you have questions, please contact SNF Executive Director Jane Balek at jbalek@schoolnutrition.org or (800) 877-8822, ext. 125.

School Nutritionā€¦Your Ad Can Be DigiMag-nificent!
Did you know that SNA's flagship publication, School Nutrition (SN) magazine, is available in a digital format? While SN readers continue to turn to the printed edition as their preferred method of learning about innovative products and services, the digital edition offers another option for busy school nutrition professionals to receive the magazine's valuable content—and an additional no cost avenue for your advertising messages. To view January's SN DigiMag, click here. For information about advertising in School Nutrition, click here.


Sign Up for Webinar Wednesdays!
Upcoming Webinars: The Power of Protein
2:00 pm EST on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Power up your school nutrition program with protein based foods, like E-G-G-S. The high-quality protein in eggs will keep your students feeling satisfied and focused throughout the school day. This webinar covers the latest in egg nutrition research, foodservice trends, success stories from real egg-cellent school meals, and marketing material to attract your students, staff and parents to the protein power of eggs ā€“ for breakfast, lunch, snack and supper.
Successful completion of the webinar and quiz is awarded 1 SNACEU, or 1 CPEU for RDs/DTRs.

Annual National Conference Reminders

ANC2018 Las Vegas Exhibit Hall Sign-up: Only Fifteen (15) Booths Available!
You don’t want to miss an opportunity to network with fellow exhibitors, demo your culinary expertise, and meet influential decision-makers. ANC is the School Nutrition Event of the Year!

If you haven't done so already, click here to see what exhibit space is still available for the upcoming 72nd Annual National Conference in Las Vegas, NV at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center on July 9-12, 2018. Contact Crystal Harper-Pierre at (800) 877-8822, ext. 140 or charper@schoolnutrition.org, to reserve your booth space. Crystal looks forward to hearing from you!

Time to Submit Your Program Description for ANC
The official ANC Program Guide includes all session and event information, as well as an in-depth buyers’ guide section. It is a valuable onsite tool and future reference guide for attendees. Submit your company description by February 28, 2018 by using the online form.

Highlights of ANC -- Culinary Demonstrations: New Format!
New this year: The Culinary Demos will be held during the education session time slots; more visibility for your company. Culinary Demonstrations provide an opportunity to showcase your latest food products, recipes, techniques, nutrition and food presentation skills, and offer ways to enhance school meals and increase participation. These demos will be available for purchase of $3,500 each. You must be exhibiting at ANC18 to present a demo.

Do You Know How to Increase Your Priority Points
Priority points are earned from June 1, 2017 through May 31, 2018, and are compiled based on the following criteria.

Remember that these points will determine your scheduled appointment for exhibitor sign-up for ANC 2019 in St. Louis. Contact the following SNA Centers at (301) 686-3100 to show your support and to increase your points.

  • Meetings (exhibits/booths) at ext. 140
  • Business Development (membership & sponsorship) at ext. 173
  • Communications (advertising) at ext. 117
  • School Nutrition Foundation (sponsorship) at ext. 125

Legislative & Regulatory Update

Register for LAC 2018!
SNA's 2018 Legislative Action Conference is being held March 4-6 at the J.W. Marriot Hotel in Washington, D.C. Register today to learn the latest in child nutrition policy and regulation, hear our two keynote speakers, pollsters Frank Luntz and Peter Hart, and make sure your voice is heard on Capitol Hill!

SNA Holds Inaugural Block Grant Task Force Meeting
In light of the political climate, and because of the 2018 Position Paper Survey results, SNA felt it was an especially salient time to hold a Block Grant Task Force Meeting. The meeting was held on December 5 and 6, and the task force was made up of SNA members from across the country, representing all district sizes and regions. During the meeting, the results of the 2018 Position Paper Survey, particularly the questions surrounding block grants, were analyzed and the group worked to identify the impact that block grants would have on school nutrition programs. SNA’s 2018 Block Grant Campaign will be announced early in the new year.

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