U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new USDA nutritious school meals initiatives at a recent Healthy School Meals Roundtable. The meal standards updates came with a plan for the gradual phase-in of new, science-based nutrition standards. Updated guidelines from USDA reinforce the nutritional benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and call for more availability of produce offerings in school lunches.

But what does this mean for U.S. fruit and vegetables? The new science-based nutrition standards are based on the latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, emphasizing fruits and vegetables. The guidance calls for a reduction in added sugars, likely bolstering demand for naturally occurring sugars like fruit. Additionally, a $100 million investment in the Healthy Meals Incentive plan will increase demand for agricultural producers to provide nutritious commodities. The proposed rule also strengthens domestic demand by furthering the “Buy American” mentality when it comes to school meal purchases.

Read more on the revamped school nutrition guidelines that will impact fruit and vegetable demand here.