Offer versus serve (OVS) is a policy for reimbursable meals that allows students to decline a certain number of food components in the meal in order to reduce plate waste and food cost.
A school lunch eligible for federal reimbursement shall offer five (5) food components in the appropriate amounts per grade grouping:
- Grain and
- Meat/Meat Alternate.
Students are allowed to decline two (2) of the five (5) required food components, but must select at least ½ cup of either fruit (or fruit combination) or a ½ cup of vegetable (or vegetable combination) or ½ cup of a fruit /vegetable combination.
After selecting the ½ cup fruit or vegetable requirement, students must select at least two (2) additional full components in the full amounts (per age/grade grouping required amounts) to count toward the reimbursable offer versus serve meal.
The student’s decision to accept all five (5) food components or to decline two (2) food components shall not affect the price charged for the meal. The lunch is price as a unit. If children do not choose enough food items to comprise a reimbursable meal, a la carte prices will be charged.
School staff cannot make exceptions to the policy, such as requiring every child to take a particular food component. It is the student’s choice to select any three, four or all five components of the reimbursable meal.
At each school implementing the Offer versus Serve Policy, school food service staff will be trained annually.
Offer versus Serve will be implemented in all Schools