In the midst of an increasingly bitter battle over the future of school food standards, and accusations that the SNA has become unduly influenced by its food industry funders, I thought it would be interesting to scour the SNA conference hashtag for photos of and information on foods being exhibited July 13-16, 2014.
While I can only highlight what I've seen posted on Twitter and I can't assess the ratio of healthy food vendors to less healthy food vendors, I have found a number of interesting Tweets from the conference participants. There's no question that many healthy and delicious foods were a part of the exhibit. It's also clear that the food industry has reformulated numerous ultra-processed junk foods to meet the new USDA "smart snack," breakfast and lunch guidelines.
Personally, I would love to see the nutrition professionals leading the SNA take a strong stand next year, by refusing to exhibit USDA compliant food that is still junk. Yes, industry may have added the appropriate amount of whole grains to that empty calorie snack cracker and lowered the sugar content of that chocolate cereal. But junk is still junk, and serving slightly less damaging versions of it to our kids will not help end our childhood obesity and chronic disease crises.
Here are my personal choices for The Good, the Bad and The Ugly Food Exhibits at :