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School Food Service Costs: Does Location Matter?

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Author Info

  • Ollinger, Michael
  • Ralston, Katherine L.
  • Guthrie, Joanne F.

Abstract

Over 30 million lunches and 9.8 million breakfasts are served every day to children in participating American schools through the USDA National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. It is challenging for participating local school food authorities (SFAs) to serve appealing, healthful meals while covering food, labor, and other operating costs with USDA reimbursements. But it may be more difficult for some SFAs than others due to cost differences across locations. Analysis of data from a large national sample reveals that after controlling for differences in SFA characteristics, sharp differences in costs remained among rural, urban, and suburban SFAs and across regions. The highest costs occurred in Mid-Atlantic, suburban SFAs and the lowest cost existed in southwest, urban SFAs. Differences in food costs explained the largest share of this variation.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/60690
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado with number 60690.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea10:60690

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Related research

Keywords: school meal costs; cost function; SFA; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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Cited by:
  1. Ollinger, Michael & Ralston, Katherine L. & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2011. "School Breakfast and Lunch Costs: Are There Economies of Scale?," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103191, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  2. Newman, Constance, 2012. "The Food Costs of Healthier School Lunches," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association, vol. 41(1), April.

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