Posted: Fri, 05/17/2019 - 9:14am Updated: Wed, 04/14/2021 - 12:09pm
  • The SFAs menu is the heart of the school's operation and should be driving force when completing the survey.
  • The pre-order survey is the time when schools make direct delivered (brown box) and direct diverted (bulk products to a processor) requests for the following school year.
  • The survey is a "wishlist" of USDA Foods that schools request for the following school year. 
  • The survey must be completed in order to participate in USDA Foods in Schools and the Food Distribution Program.
  • This survey helps IDOE determine the amount and which USDA Foods to order from USDA. 
  • Both brown box and bulk products sent to processors are included on the same survey.
  • Pre-allocations for the entitlement funds diverted to the Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program are posted under the entitlement tab on the survey.
  • *This is a request not an order. There is no guarantee that USDA will buy or deliver items requested.
  • Items should not be menued until they are showing in the SFAs inventory.
  • December 31: Department of Defense Fresh Fruits and Vegetables entitlement diversion deadline.
  • Mid to Late January: The survey typically opens.
  • Mid to Late March: Survey typically closes. 

Once the survey closes, it cannot be reopened. The survey must be completed by the deadline. 


  • Must be on the National School Lunch Program for at least one school year.
  • Cannot be vended or catered by a third party vendor.
  • Qualify if they contract with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC).

To participate:

  • School Food Authorities must be set up on the Food Distribution Program in CNPweb and receive Planned Assisted Level (PAL) also known as entitlement.
  • The pre-order survey must be completed by all School Food Authorities in CNPweb.
  • Schools are encouraged to "spend" up to 102% of their allotted Planned Assistance Level (PAL) aka Entitlement dollars.
    • These dollars are based on total lunches served in the previous school year multiplied by the current per meal rate.
    • This rate differs from the child nutrition reimbursement rate.

Annual Pre-Order Survey Training