Brown Box to Bulk

Indiana Department of Education 2022 Spring - Summer 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 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, there is a value attached to them from the producer to the processor to the distributor. To learn more about USDA Foods, please visit https://www.fns.usda.gov/usda-fis. To enroll in the USDA Foods program, please email cmoore@doe.in.gov.

IDOE Needs Your Help!

With the regular semester wrapping up and summer programs beginning, we are asking schools with available storage space to take additional shipments before the school's last delivery period on or before June 30.


IDOE has received additional funding and we have USDA Foods shipments that will be delivered to the state assigned warehouses before September 30. Therefore, we would appreciate all schools that can help us make room at Dilgard, Stanz and Wabash.


Bulk Eggs are Currently Unavailable


  • Due to the avian flu outbreak the vendor for 100047 Bulk Whole Eggs were unable to complete their deliveries for April and May 2022.
  • For the remaining of SY-22 there are no 100047 Bulk Whole Egg pounds available with Michael Foods and Cargill Kitchen for UDSA Food orders.
  • IDOE will provide updated information regarding orders for SY-23 when the information is released from USDA/FNS.



Clearing Direct Delivered (Brown Box) USDA Foods Allocations

As of June 30, any USDA Foods remaining in a school's inventory will be removed and redistributed for other schools to utilize. USDA requires state assigned warehouses housing USDA Foods inventory to get as close to zero inventory as possible. State warehouses are to be utilized to ship USDA Foods and not for storage.


USDA Foods Processing Company Carryover

Schools with USDA Foods pounds remaining at the processor after June 30, will carry over to school year 2023. These pounds should be used first when ordering begins in the new school year. Carryover products continue to age as it sits at the processor and eventually will become an out-of-condition food that cannot be used. This ultimately contributes to waste.


USDA Foods Cancellations for SY2023

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

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

According to 7 CFR 250.12, NSLP and other child nutrition programs inventories for each category of donated food may not exceed an amount needed for a six-month period, based on an average amount of donated foods utilized in that period.


Below are some suggestions on how to stay within USDA's six month rule and keep your school's USDA Foods moving at the state assigned warehouse and the processors throughout the school year.


  • Ask processors what is in stock versus asking them what is not available.
  • Scale down the amount of processors (especially during forecast pre-order survey time).
  • Review your school's forecasts often.
  • Remember the warehouse is in the business of shipping food, not storing food
  • Use smart storage space maximization and fill the space with more high-ticket items (i.e. ground beef or chicken).

Information regarding DoD for SY2023 coming soon.


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) and getting started with DoD, please review the Customer Ordering Manual and inTEAM training.


Receipting 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.

What is Forecasting?

Forecasting is a way to plan what future inventory is needed using past data, trends and events in order to make an educated guess or estimate. For example, it the best tool to use when planning for the IDOE annual pre-order forecast survey.

Benefits of Forecasting

  • Enhances the ability to make an informed decision.
  • Develops good inventory management.
  • School food staff will gain valuable insight and information.
  • Gets School Food Authorities (SFAs) in the habit of looking at past and real-time data to predict future demand.
  • Provides the ability to anticipate demand fluctuations more effectively.
  • Provides insight into the health of your school food program and provide you with an opportunity to make adjustments.
  • SFAs can learn from past mistakes.
  • It can help decrease costs.
  • Helps reduce stock and prevents overordering.

How to Forecast

  • Start with a fresh or refreshed menu. The menu drives your school's whole food service operation. You can refresh it by removing unpopular items and adding new ones. Using cycle menus is also a good idea.
  • Complete the monthly reconciliation form for your school's records. This a way to track what product you have at the state assigned warehouse, processing companies and DoD.
  • Use a commodity calculator. Processing company brokers use these calculators to determine pounds needed. The commodity tracking websites, K12Foodservice and ProcessorLink.

    also use commodity tracking websites and forecasting tools.
  • Keep accurate daily production records.
Like school food staff, truck drivers are also in high demand. Trucking and transportation companies have been feeling the pinch of having to reorganize schedules, work overtime and continue working outside of their normal schedules.


School food service is no exception. School year 2022 brought about a lot of adjustments in the transportation and warehouse industry. Schools were asked to be flexible by reducing the number of delivery sites, combining sites and/or orders as well as postponing deliveries due to lack of warehouse staff, truck drivers, and/or trucks and equipment.


Transportation companies have seen a decline in truck drivers due to health concerns such as COVID-19 and health conditions possibly developed from sitting for long periods without any exercise. In addition, drug testing now has a national clearing house which is also causing drivers to leave their jobs.


Warehouses and transportation companies report having difficulty maintaining drivers because of better pay with other companies. Drivers have little control over their schedules. It is not uncommon for them to sit for hours while loaders load their trucks. The loaders are unmotivated to load the truck quickly. This causes a driver to sit for hours without pay because they are not driving.


To help with this dilemma, we all need to do our part. Before placing deliveries, schools should check their school calendars, note holidays and breaks and take care not to place USDA Foods orders during those times. Also, due to rising fuel costs, schools should ensure school staff is available when deliveries are made to avoid missed deliveries and/or repeat attempts for deliveries. Finally, schools should continue to be flexible and be sure that the delivery area is cleared and accessible which will help all schools receive USDA Foods in their school.

Dishin’ Nutrition

This section provides inspiration for recipes you can create using USDA Foods. If you have recipe ideas, please share them with Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

Did You Know?


  • IDOE has a toolkit to assist Food Service Directors with the Food Distribution Program. To access the toolkit, click here.

Upcoming Events

Click here to check out our upcoming trainings.


2022 State of Indiana Holidays

Memorial Day, Monday, May 30

Independence Day, Monday, July 4

Labor Day, Monday, September 5


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

For the full list of state holidays, click here.

USDA Foods Resources

Questions?

Contact Us

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

Email: cmoore@doe.in.gov

Phone: 317-234-2516


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

Email: lrsmith@doe.in.gov

Phone: 317-232-0859