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Nutrition and Wellness Programs


Vended Meals Contracts

In a vended meals contract, the contractor provides the meals only (prepackaged, pre-plated) and does not manage any aspect of the school food service. However, if the contractor’s employees are responsible for the final preparation and/or serving of the prepackaged, pre-plated school meals, the contract becomes a FSMC contract and is no longer considered a vended meals contract.

Currently, all vended meals contracts involving expenditures in excess of $150,000 must be competitively bid. School food authorities (SFAs) receiving federal reimbursement must follow the required federal and state procurement procedures. To ensure regulatory compliance, all SFAs conducting a new procurement or considering contracting for school meal services are highly encouraged to attend the meal service procurement training offered by the Nutrition and Wellness Programs Division near the end of each calendar year.

Provided below are links to the regulations, requirements, forms, and documents to assist you in completing a successful procurement or contract renewal. If you have questions regarding the bid solicitation and contract procedures or contract renewal process, please contact our office at 217-782-2491 or 800-545-7892 (in Illinois), or via email at cnp@isbe.net.


Topic Informal Bidding Procedures—Vended Meal Services

If your contract for vended meal services will not be in excess of $150,000 annually, you may use informal bidding procedures to procure the meal services contract.

The following steps must be part of the informal bidding procedures:

  • Develop a written purchase description of the services/items being solicited; (it is recommended you use the Solicitation for Quotes prototype document located below);
  • Solicit quotes/bids from three or more potential vendors based on the written purchase description; document vendor names along with the date and method of contact—be sure to maintain free and open competition;
  • Record all quotes/bids received and any notification received from vendors declining to bid;
  • Evaluate the quotes for conformance to the purchase description;
  • Award the purchase/contract (record the justification for the award) and, once signed by both parties, the Solicitation for Quotes becomes the contract, and
  • Notify the Illinois State Board of Education of the contract award—provide copies of all documentation for each step above along with a copy of the final contract including estimated contract cost. These documents will be kept on file for potential audit purposes. In addition, submission of these documents to our office will be required as part of the approval process for your application for participation in the National School Lunch Program.

Topic Informal Procurement Prototype Documents—Vended Meal Services Under $150,000 Annually