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The Food Costs of Healthier School Lunches

Author

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  • Newman, Constance

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed and adopted a new set of meal pattern requirements for the National School Lunch Program that will allow schools to claim 6 cents more in lunch reimbursement rates. This study analyzes the food costs of school menus in 2005 that met many of the proposed requirements. Overall, schools that served more, and more diverse, non-starchy vegetables had higher average food costs, and schools that served menus with lower calories had lower food costs. The food costs of school lunch menus that met the combined standards for dark green vegetables, orange vegetables, other vegetables, lowfat/fat-free milk, and fruit averaged 9 cents more per meal in 2005 dollars when other major factors that could affect food choices are taken into account. The main sources of higher costs appear to be related to the provisions for more vegetables.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:arerjl:123310
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/123310
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daniel L. Millimet & Rusty Tchernis & Muna Husain, 2010. "School Nutrition Programs and the Incidence of Childhood Obesity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(3).
    2. Todd, Jessica E. & Leibtag, Ephraim S. & Penberthy, Corttney, 2011. "Geographic Differences in the Relative Price of Healthy Foods," Economic Information Bulletin 117976, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    3. Philip M. Gleason & Carol W. Suitor, 2003. "Eating at School: How the National School Lunch Program Affects Children's Diets," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(4), pages 1047-1061.
    4. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    5. Benjamin L. Campbell & Rodolfo M. Nayga & John L. Park & Andres Silva, 2011. "Does the National School Lunch Program Improve Children's Dietary Outcomes?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1099-1130.
    6. Ollinger, Michael & Ralston, Katherine L. & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2010. "School Food Service Costs: Does Location Matter?," 2010 Annual Meeting, July 25-27, 2010, Denver, Colorado 60690, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    7. repec:mpr:mprres:6165 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Becot, Florence & Conner, David & Nelson, Abbie & Buckwalter, Erin & Erickson, Daniel, 2014. "Institutional Demand for Locally-Grown Food in Vermont: Marketing Implications for Producers and Distributors," Journal of Food Distribution Research, Food Distribution Research Society, vol. 45(2), July.
    2. Thapa, Janani R. & Lyford, Conrad P., 2014. "Behavioral Economics in the School Lunchroom: Can it Affect Food Supplier Decisions? A Systematic Review," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 17(A).

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