Parents of school children will have to contend with the rising prices of school meals in the new school year. Take Thuringia as an example: the state parents’ union, the Department of Education, and the so-called School Supply Network at the Consumer Advice Center all assume that providers will soon be able to claim higher costs. That was the result of the survey.
According to a network spokeswoman, prices for school lunches in some places have risen by an average of 40 to 50 cents per portion over the past few months. Providers that have so far refrained from raising prices are likely to see increases of roughly the same size in the near future. However, in individual cases, there may also be higher surcharges.
“This is not just a social issue, whether families can handle it”
Given current food prices, that would be a significant cost increase. According to data from the Network Center as of October 2021, parents had to pay an average of 3.15 euros for a school meal in primary schools and 3.34 euros in secondary schools. However, the average prices quoted do not reflect the actual cost of lunch. “Sometimes school authorities support a warm lunch,” a network center spokeswoman said.
The Department of Education also assumes that school meals will become more expensive. It is clear that it is becoming more and more difficult for many service providers to operate economically at the previous prices and at the same time provide a qualitatively convincing meal. According to the ministry in Erfurt, the reasons for the expected surcharges are increased food prices, higher energy costs and increased personnel expenses on the part of service providers.
Education Minister Helmut Holter (left) replied with concern: “This is not just a social issue, whether families can handle it.” The question also arises as to whether all children can continue to participate in school meals. And given the rising prices, there could also be a downward spiral of cancellations and therefore a gap in child and youth care.
Holter therefore called on the federal government to take a closer look at the situation of families with children in schools and kindergartens, and to ensure significant relief. “This is a requirement of the federal government’s social policy.” Meanwhile, he pleaded with suppliers not to use price increases to increase profit margins.
A spokeswoman for the state representative, Claudia Koch, made a similar statement. Businesses should not use the expected increases in the price of school meals to generate higher profits. Previous experience from other regions has shown that the economy has often used unavoidable price increases to add a few extra percentage points to end consumer prices. Koch argued that this is exactly what should not happen at school lunches. Otherwise, there will be no acceptance among parents of the high prices.
Koch estimated the cost of school meals in Thuringia at 2.50 to 4 euros per meal. After food suppliers in many kindergartens have already announced price increases during the holiday season, the price hike for school meals is only a matter of time. This is also favored by the fact that there are not many providers of school meals in Bavaria.
Consumer Protection Minister Dirk Adams (Greens) noted that food quality in Thuringia schools has recently increased in some measurable ways. A pilot project to implement the quality standards of the German Dietetic Association also results in “more pupils participating in school meals, simply because they taste good”. News4teachers / Articles from dpa
Kindergarten and elementary school meals: Parents want meat (but accept more vegetables)