Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education The New Web-based Interactive Food Buying Guide

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Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
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Superintendents; Principals

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This memorandum provides guidance on where to find the new web-based, interactive Food Buying Guide, including Frequently Asked Questions.

On July 7, 2017, the Nutrition, Education, Training, and Technical Assistance Division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) Child Nutrition Program released the first phase of the new web-based, interactive Food Buying Guide (FBG).  The features associated with this release include search and navigation features by food groups and food categories, comparison features of different forms of food for yield information, and the ability for users to create and save favorite food lists. 

The tool also incorporates an exciting new feature: the interactive Product Formulation Statement Workbook which allows manufacturers to easily search and populate selected food items, calculate their product’s contribution statement, and generate a document that provides crediting information for Child Nutrition Program Operators.

This current version:

  • Reflects updated meal pattern requirements for National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, and Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) including:
    • new grain items that are whole-grain or whole-grain rich,
    • the separation of vegetable and fruit components, and
    • the addition of vegetable subgroups (beans and peas, red/orange, dark green, starchy, and other vegetables).
      • Offering specific amounts of vegetables from each vegetable subgroup weekly is only required in the school meal programs.  However, other Child Nutrition Programs (CACFP and Summer Food Service Program) may wish to use these subgroups as a guide for offering a variety of vegetables to program participants.
  • Is the most comprehensive to date.  It includes over 1,000 food items or new pack sizes, each carefully tested in a food service setting using the equipment and methods that would be used in a typical food service setting.
  • Has a new look, with an updated design.  The yield data tables still appear in a familiar format so it can be used easily.
  • Is packed with helpful information.  For example, practical examples are included to serve as a how-to guide for working with the yield data tables.
  • Contains the updated meal pattern requirement charts for each Child Nutrition Program.


  • Appendix A: Recipe Analysis Workbook. This appendix was updated to provide a tool to help determine the recipe's expected meal pattern contributions. This tool contains a series of worksheets (tabs) with formulas for each food group (meal component).
  • Appendix B: Using “Additional Information” Column of the Food Buying Guide Yield Tables. This appendix shows how to determine the amount of food to purchase for yield and crediting purposes using column 6 “Additional Information.”
  • Appendix C: The USDA Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling Program. This appendix provides a brief description of the CN Labeling Program, the types of foods that can be CN labeled, and what a CN label looks like. It also contains yield data for “Food Items for Further Processing” used primarily by industry.
  • Appendix D: The Food Purchasing Process. This appendix provides a summary of resources to guide the user through the food purchasing process.
  • Appendix E: Grains/Breads Component for the Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Snack Program. This appendix was added to provide information on how food products contribute toward the grains/breads requirement in the Summer Food Service Program and Afterschool Snack Program.
  • Appendix F: Resources. Resources related to program requirements, nutrition guidance, food safety, and more.

This FBG will periodically be updated in phases and individual sections will be available to download and print.

The next phases to be released for School Year 2017-2018, will include the new interactive Recipe Analysis Workbook (RAW), a downloadable FBG, and a FBG Mobile App!

Start using the new web-based interactive Food Buying Guide at


User Manual

FBG Flyer

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