Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Apparel, Events and Hospitality Management

First Advisor

Haemoon Oh

Second Advisor

Susan Arendt

Third Advisor

Sam Beattie


Beginning with the 2006-2007 school year, schools were required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement local wellness policies. Because this area of study is relatively new, a limited number of readings were found in the literature related to implementation of such policies, as well as the content of policies implemented thus far. The purpose of this study was to use focus group and survey data to identify the purchasing practices used by the largest 100 school districts and industry's perception of the purchasing practices used in schools.;Specific research objectives included determining if the largest 100 school districts differ in their responses based on school district enrollment, the student population's eligibility for free or reduced-price meal benefits, and presence or absence of a state or local wellness policy. Additional research objectives were designed to assess whether or not industry suppliers differ in their perceptions of what the largest 100 school districts want or need based on the type of products or services they supply to schools, and annual sales to schools. The final objective was to examine agreement or gaps in food purchasing practices by foodservice professionals and what industry representatives perceive foodservice professionals want or need when purchasing foods in Child Nutrition Programs.;Findings from this study indicate there are no differences between school districts based on size or student eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. School districts with a state or local wellness policy in place reported stronger agreement than those without a policy on some factors related to nutritional characteristics of food items. Companies supplying food and the largest companies in the study reported stronger agreement than non-food companies and smaller companies on some factors they perceived in school foodservice purchasing decisions, namely regulations, wellness policies, and specific nutritional characteristics of food items. Gaps were identified between foodservice and industry participants' responses. Foodservice participants indicated stronger agreement on eight factors than what industry respondents perceived suggesting there is need for stronger communication between foodservice participants and industry.;Implementation of effective wellness policies is critical to the success of Child Nutrition Programs. Information gained from this research can be used to guide industry in the development of new food products, assist professional organizations and other groups to design communication and training materials to bridge the gaps between foodservice professionals and industry, and aid policy makers in the development of future policies.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Tami Jo Cline



Proquest ID


OCLC Number




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File Size

128 pages