The New Jersey Department of Agriculture co-hosted a conference on trends in school menus.

The department and the New Jersey School Nutrition Association presented the First Annual USDA Foods Conference Jan. 24 in East Brunswick, according to a department news release.

The conference brought together more than 250 school foodservice professionals from around the state for workshops and a vendor show highlighting prepared school menu items made in compliance with the nutritional requirements of new Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act school lunch regulations.

“By utilizing USDA foods, school districts are able to reduce their food costs while providing healthy, kid-friendly meals,” New Jersey’s secretary of agriculture, Douglas Fisher, said in the release. “The USDA Foods Distribution Program is part of the department’s overall commitment to providing students with delicious and nutritious options in their school cafeterias.”

Individually packaged fresh fruits and vegetables were among the more popular items at the show, Rose Tricario, the department’s director of food and nutrition, said in the release.