Chop Categories

Items to be ranked are assigned to one of the following 13 categories:

  • Grains and pasta
  • Snacks and desserts
  • Cereal
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Beverages
  • Dairy and milk products
  • Vegetable proteins
  • Animal proteins
  • Meals
  • Special Needs
  • Minimum Contribution
  • Not Ranked
  • Non-Food

Grains and Pasta

Product category includes:

Bread Pancake mix Pasta
Rice Rice mixes


Products category includes:

Cake mix Dips Gelatin
Cakes/cupcakes Frosting Jello
Candy Ice pops Marshmallows
Cheese curls/puffs Ice cream Pretzels
Chips Cereal bars Popcorn
Cookies Ice cream cones Pudding
Crackers—all types Frosting Sherbet
Nutrition bars Beef jerky Dessert toppings
Pork rinds Fruit roll-ups, leather, etc. Slim Jim
Pie Crust Pastries Out-of-date nutritional supplement


Product category includes: All hot and cold cereals


Product category includes: All vegetables including tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, carrots, greens,
corn, peas, green beans, mushrooms, etc. which are canned or frozen.


Product category includes: All fruits, including dried, canned, and frozen, including cranberry sauce


Product category includes:

Milk, fresh Juice – all Sports Drinks
Shelf-Stable Milk Juice beverages Energy Drinks
Ades, e.g. lemonade Rice Milk Soy Milk
Pop/Soda Kool Aid Drink powders, e.g. Tang
Water* Flavored water Hugs

*Water automatically receives a ranking of 1.

Dairy and Milk Products

Product category includes: Yogurt, cheese, cheese foods, cheese spreads

Vegetable Protein

Product category includes:

Nuts Legumes Textured Vegetable Protein
Seeds Nut butters* Soy products e.g. tofu, hot dogs
Beans Non-meat burgers

*100% nut butters automatically receive a ranking of 1 (Does not include nut butter mixes such as
peanut butter with jelly or honey.)

Animal Protein

Product category includes: Any meat item that comes from an animal, canned, frozen or fresh:

Chicken Pork Fish
Turkey Venison Lunch meats
Beef Lamb Hot dogs
Bacon Sausage Eggs*

*Eggs automatically receive a ranking of 1.


Product category includes: Foods containing multiple food groups, canned, frozen or fresh:

Soups, liquid Entrees Pizza
Soups, dry Side dishes Canned pastas e.g. Spaghetti-Os
Stews Ramen noodles ‘Helpers”

Special Needs

These foods are considered to provide maximum nutrition for a specific purpose while within code dates:

Baby formula* Baby food* Nutrition supplements*, liquid e.g. Boost, Ensure

*All special needs foods receive a ranking of 1.

Minimal Contribution

These foods contribute mainly calories, not nutrients, to the diet and are ranked MC.  They are of minimal
nutritional value and time is not spent in ranking them:

Jellies Ketchup Pickles Oil, liquid & spray
Jams Mayonnaise Relishes Tartar Sauce
Fruit spreads Mustard Salad dressing Cocktail Sauce
Gravy Margarine Butter Salsa
Syrup Butter substitutes Sour cream Coffee
Gum Mints Candy Tea

Not Ranked (NF) and Non-Foods (NF)

Donated less than 10 pallets Assorted or mixed Food drive
Product without nutrition labels Salvage


There are foods that we are unable to rank or may choose not to rank for practical reasons.  A food without
nutrient information can’t be ranked.  Ingredients alone do not provide enough information to analyze a food.
A highly mixed donation of crackers may contain too many varieties to make ranking and assigning item cards
to each one possible.  Assigning NR or NF to an item  instead of leaving it without a designation confirms that the product was reviewed for ranking and not just missed.  Using NR and NF facilitates accuracy in tracking and reporting data.