The latest wrench thrown at school food service departments post pandemic is the impact of rising inflation on school meals. According to the latest Consumer Price Index data, school meal prices increased more than 300 percent over the past year.
As schools are undoubtedly looking to stretch their dollars further and continue to prioritize feeding students healthy and nutritious meals, American Dairy Association North East offers support and a variety of resources to help reallocate spending.
One way many schools in New York can reduce costs is by taking advantage of the 30% New York State Initiative. Through this program, schools are encouraged to support local farmers and the local economy by providing students with nutritious food products from local sources, such as milk, yogurt and cheese from New York’s more than 3,500 local dairy farms. This initiative increases the reimbursement schools receive for lunches from 5.9 cents per meal to 25 cents per meal for any district that purchases at least 30 percent of ingredients for their school lunch program from New York farms.