Dresden: School meals explode: “Otherwise, more and more children will not be eating lunch in the future”

School meals explosion: “Otherwise, more and more children will not be eating lunch in the future”

Food prices in Dresden schools and day care centers have risen sharply. Parents are asking the city to take action. Is school lunch become a luxury?

By Nora Domschek and Julia Vollmer

4 minutes

Hot meal prices in schools have risen sharply.
© via Sächsische Zeitung, city

Dresden. Fuel and food prices skyrocketing: Many Dresdeners groan these days when they have to pull out their wallets. If you have kids in school or nursery school, you have to dig deeper into your pockets. Many food vendors have increased lunch prices.

The increment in a meal is sometimes about 50 or 60 cents. Anyone who previously paid €3.66 per meal for their child, as with the DLS provider, has been paying €3.95 since June 1. This means 79 euros per month with 20 working days instead of 73.20 euros. This is especially difficult for parents who have two or more children.

Why do prices go up?

The DLS provider justifies the increase, among other things, with the fact that “our suppliers have announced increases in the prices of our grocery purchases and logistics costs in the past few weeks, which will take effect already on April 1st.” Increases in goods purchased and logistics will be 18.2 percent.

“These massive cost increases represent a serious change for us. So we feel compelled to increase meal prices, knowing full well that you also have to put up with other price increases in various areas of life,” the service provider said in the parent letter. .

On its website, the Hähnchen provider calculates the price increase, as well as with the increase in the minimum wage, based on breakfast in the day care center. “With the introduction and increase of minimum wages, breakfast is now an average gross of 80 cents. Of this, 19 percent of the value-added tax has already been taken away, leaving about 67 cents net of all other costs.” The 67 cents have a merchandise ration between €0.26 and €0.30, but a small bakery roll alone costs €0.21.

Provider Variety Menu wrote to parents that food prices in March 2022 were 33.6% higher than in the same month last year. Prices of vegetables and fruits have tripled in some cases, dairy products are about a quarter more expensive and prices for flour and cooking oils as well as electricity are about 50 percent higher than they were a year ago.

“We have no influence on food and energy price development and cannot offset the increased costs, so we had to adjust menu prices accordingly,” she says. The provider asked: “Instead of a planned gasoline price brake, politicians should support the provision of school meals. Municipalities and politicians should take immediate action so that all children can continue to receive reliable nutrition, regardless of their parents’ income status.”

Cancellations of children’s meals should be prevented due to the evolution of prices. Johanniter spokesperson Danilo Schulz also says, “Food is also becoming more expensive in some of our daycares. So far we have only sent advance notice, and there are no prices yet. We are still in touch with the caterers.”

What do the parents say?

In a survey of all parents’ councils in Dresden, Kreiselternrat asked about the latest increases and the current price level of food supplies in schools. “More than three-quarters of participating schools have seen increases in food prices this school year – not even a few times,” says Stefan Kraft of the District Parents Council Primary Schools Working Group. “The four-euro sound barrier is often broken – individual schools already have over €4.50 for a hot meal for children and young adults. This makes all-day school a social issue. We reject that.”

District Parents Council Vice President Stephanie Bonitz calls on the city and independent providers to take action: “Franchise contracts should be designed in such a way that price increases cannot be implemented unilaterally and not to the extent required. Rules and limits are needed here.” Formalities such as participation in school conferences should not be ignored.

“With all the understanding of the needs of food suppliers and their problems with staff financing, food and energy – we need rules that take the needs of schoolchildren and their families more into account. Otherwise, more and more children may not eat lunch during the future of the school day.”

Is there support from the city?

Families who need support can apply for benefits from the city’s education package. “Children, teens and young adults have the right to participate — at lunchtime in preschool, after-school care and school, with music or sports at the club. The education package supports families in need,” the city says. The educational package includes, among other things, excursions and class trips as well as lunch. Depending on the situation, who receives a Hartz IV, housing benefit or benefits under the Asylum Seeker Benefit Act may be eligible for these benefits.

“In the first quarter of 2022, an average of 2,655 children and youth received lunch subsidy through the education package each month,” the city said when asked by SZ. In the case of housing allowance and sons allowance, utilization increased by 45% compared to the first quarter of 2018 and 2022. According to the city, this is mainly due to performance improvements made in the meantime.

Left-wing city councilor Anne Holwinko demands: “As an immediate measure, the city should ease the additional costs temporarily. In the long run, lunch in schools and daycares should be exempt from VAT as part of the educational offer and would be 19 percent cheaper in one fell swoop.” .” It is a matter for the state to regulate it.

“Lunch must remain affordable, and the municipality must now consider how to respond to price developments,” stresses Green City Councilwoman Tina Sebenicher.

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