Search

Impact of Rising Food Prices on School Nutrition

Loading...

 

school nutrition fundingThe increase in food, milk and energy costs, combined with high labor and benefit costs are driving school boards to raise lunch prices and school nutrition programs to cut costs or go into the red. 

School districts, especially school nutrition programs, are being challenged by the high cost of nutritious foods:

  • 78.3% of school nutrition programs have experienced increased costs as a result of implementing their district’s nutrition standards. Food costs are the most common type of cost increase mentioned (From Cupcakes to Carrots: Local School Wellness Policies One Year Later, September 2007, School Nutrition Association)
  • The most frequently identified hurdle to implementation of district nutrition standards is the price of the products that meet nutrition standards noted by 61.6% of school nutrition directors. Whole grain items, fresh fruits and vegetables and low fat snacks in particular have resulted in increased costs.(From Cupcakes to Carrots: Local School Wellness Policies One Year Later, September 2007, School Nutrition Association)

School nutrition directors report double digit price increases for foods critical to providing balanced, nutritious school meals:

  • Milk:  14% average increase
  • Fruits & Vegetables:  13% average increase
  • Meat and Meat Alternatives:  11% average
  • Bread:  15% average increase

(From School Nutrition Association Cost Survey of Members, September 2008)

School nutrition programs are experiencing increased costs, according to the SNA 2008 Back to School Trends Report, August 2008:

  • Food: 97.5% of school nutrition directors surveyed expect an increase in their programs’ food costs for the 2008-2009 school year
  • Labor: 84% of school nutrition directors surveyed expect an increase in their programs’ labor costs for the 2008-2009 school year
  • Gas/Transportation: 94% of school nutrition directors surveyed expect an increase in transportation/fuel costs for the 2008-2009 school year
  • Indirect Costs: 67% of school nutrition directors surveyed expect an increase in indirect costs for the 2008-2009 school year. Indirect costs include gas, electricity and water that are charged by the school district to the school nutrition program.

School nutrition programs are not compromising nutritional integrity as a result of rising costs:

  • School nutrition professionals are doing everything they can to continue to offer healthy, delicious lunches and are resorting to some creative approaches to stretch the dollar.
  • It is not uncommon for school nutrition programs to substitute sliced tomatoes for expensive cherry tomatoes, or menu spaghetti rather than pricier lasagna.
  • One school district may use diced chicken on salads instead of offering a more expensive chicken fillet, another district may look at money-saving equipment and supplies.
  • Some districts are delaying purchases of larger, expensive equipment.  One small school system in the Midwest is saving on paper costs by giving each student a single napkin as they walk through the line.

School districts are increasingly raising school lunch prices for "paid" meals to help address rising costs:

  • 73% of school districts are increasing prices for students to make up for increased costs (either meal, a la carte, or vending prices).  Between 50% and 60% of programs are increasing prices specifically for meals. (From School Nutrition Association Cost Survey of Members, September 2008)
  • The average increase in "paid" school lunch prices over 2007-2008 school year is 23 cents. (From School Nutrition Association Cost Survey of Members, September 2008)
  • The average price for a school lunch for the 2008-2009 school year is $2.08 up from $1.96 in 2007-2008. This represents an average of elementary, middle and high school lunch prices. (From School Nutrition Association Cost Survey of Members, September 2008)
  • The average cost of a lunch prepared at home brought to school is approximately $3.40 (A.J. Rainville, PhD, RD, CHE, SFNS "SCHOOL LUNCH PRICES BY REGION COMPARED TO THE COST OF LUNCHES FROM HOME" 2005)
  • Free and reduced price meals are not affected by school lunch price increases at the local level.

Additional funding from the local, state and federal levels of government, and other private sources are needed to ensure healthier food options.

  • 88% of responding districts indicated that the NSLP reimbursement was not sufficient for their program to cover the costs of producing a meal in the 2007/08 school year.  (From School Nutrition Association Cost Survey of Members, September 2008)
  • Based on an estimated average cost to prepare a school lunch (including labor, food and other inputs) of about $2.92, and revenue of anywhere from $2.52 to $2.77 to offset that cost (from federal reimbursements, commodity entitlement and the average price paid for a school lunch) school nutrition programs are experiencing a potential loss of at least $4.5 million per school day based on 30 million school lunches provided.

The following presentations, articles and facts sheets provide more detail on the school nutrition cost crunch:

From ANC 2008:

Session Title

Presenter

File

The Impact of Rising Food Prices on School Meals

Everett Kuglar

Download File
(Adobe PDF)

The Impact of Rising Food Prices on School Meals

Phil Kaufman

Download File
(Adobe PDF)

Town Hall Discussion, Combating the Crisis: A Sharing Session

Lyman Graham, MCFE, CHM, C; Lynnelle Grumbles, SNS; Helen Mont-Ferguson

Download File
(Adobe PDF)

Town Hall Discussion, Schools Nutrition Programs in Crisis

Janey Thornton

Download File
(Adobe PDF)


 Average 4 out of 5
Loading...

Contact Us Advertise on SNA Site Map Media Center Privacy Policy

© 2000 - 2014 School Nutrition Association, All Rights Reserved