Brown Box to Bulk

Indiana Department of Education 2022-2023 Early Fall Edition

Schools rely on the USDA Foods Distribution Program, also known as USDA Foods, as an important resource for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The provision of USDA Foods frees up funds that schools would otherwise have to use to purchase commercial food products. USDA Foods account for 15 to 20 percent of federal school lunch food expenditures.

This federal program is administered through the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) for eligible institutions to receive entitlement dollars to purchase USDA Foods. These foods can be used within the NSLP, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and After School Snack Program (ASSP).

Remember, USDA Foods are not free, and that there is a value attached from the producer to the processor to the distributor. To learn more about USDA Foods, please visit To enroll in the USDA Foods program, please email

Remember to Recertify for the Food Distribution Program

  • The time has come for schools to recertify for the FDP.
  • SFAs should follow the steps listed on the Food Distribution Program (FDP) Welcome page in CNPweb .

Forecasting and Procurement Training

  • This training will take a deep dive into how to determine USDA Foods Entitlement and how to procure vendors for your pre-order (forecast) survey.
  • There will be two opportunities to attend this training. However, please register for only one session.
  • Session #1: Monday, September 26: Click here to register
  • Session #2: Monday, October 3: Click here to register

Use USDA Foods Carryover Pounds First

School food authorities (SFAs) that allocated USDA Foods to processors should be utilizing and drawing down their bulk pounds. Carryover pounds should be drawn down first. SFAs should be monitoring bulk pounds via the third party commodity tracking websites K12Foodservice and ProcessorLink.

USDA Foods Cancellations for School Year (SY)2023

Due to lack of interest and/or the inability to meet truckload requirements, IDOE has cancelled the following items from SY2023 annual forecast pre-order survey:

  • Alaska Pollock, Frz 110601
  • Black Beans 100359
  • Unsweetened Cherries 110872
  • Egg Patty, Frz 110931
  • Diced Potatoes 110844
  • Tomato Sauce 100334
  • Diced Tomatoes 100329
  • Refried Beans 100362

Please plan your menus accordingly as the above items will be unavailable for SY2023.

The USDA DoD Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program is optional and voluntary and is not the same as the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), which is based on eligibility.

For information on the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Ordering and Receipt

System (FFAVORS), please review the Customer Ordering Manual and Moodle training.

USDA Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program

  • IDOE has a new three-part series in Moodle for information regarding the DoD Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program.
  • SFAs may begin ordering in FFAVORS:
  • SFAs must complete the e-Authentication process and set-up a profile in FFAVORS.
  • The USDA Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) will set up an SFA representative in FFAVORS and has enter the SFA into the FFAVORS system (if your school is new to DoD).
  • Entitlement will be added to FFAVORS once the above steps are completed.

Don't Forget to Receipt in FFAVORS

  • Please ensure that all SFAs receipt orders in FFAVORS within five days of delivery. This must be done so the vendors can be paid.
  • USDA wants state agencies and school food authorities to keep the food moving.
  • The state assigned warehouses (Dilgard Frozen Foods, Stanz Foodservice, McFarling Foods, and Wabash Foods), processing companies, and distributors are contracted to process and/or deliver food.
  • The state assigned warehouses are not contracted to be a storage facility.
  • Schools should ensure that orders are being placed in CNPweb for direct delivered, via the SFA's distributor for direct diverted, and in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order Receipt System (FFAVORS) for DoD Fresh Produce.
Direct Delivered USDA Foods Product Information
  • The USDA Foods Product Information Sheets include descriptions and are a composite of information vendors have voluntarily provided for direct delivered (formerly known as "brown box") only.
  • Some of the products listed may not be available in Indiana.
  • Specific information regarding products is available by contacting the individual vendor. To access the USDA Product Information Sheets click here.

Direct Diverted USDA Foods Product Information

  • For information regarding bulk products diverted to processors, SFAs should consult the Brokers and Manufacturers List and contact the corresponding broker with questions about processed items and which products can be manufactured from their diversions.

This Toolkit is designed to support school food service professionals who are learning to navigate the IDOE Food Distribution Program and effectively use USDA Foods as well as increasing their FDP knowledge. SFAs can learn more about the FDP FSD Toolkit by clicking here.

This section provides inspiration for recipes you can create using USDA Foods. For these recipes and other recipe ideas, see here and here.

Click here to check out our upcoming trainings.

2022 State of Indiana Holidays

Columbus Day, Monday, October 10

General Election Day, Tuesday, November 8

Veteran's Day, Friday, November 11

Thanksgiving Holiday, Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25

Christmas Holiday, Friday, December 23 and Monday, December 26

**State offices are closed in observance of the above holidays.

For the full list of state holidays, click here.

Cheryl Moore, FDP Specialist (Brown Box, Annual Pre-Order Survey, SFSP USDA Foods, USDA DoD Fresh Program)


Phone: 317-234-2516

Linda Smith, FDP Specialist (Raw/Bulk Products/Pounds)


Phone: 317-232-0859