Prices of breakfast and lunch meals in Cobb school cafeterias will increase for the 2012-13 school year in conjunction with a new federal law that requires cafeterias to offer healthier options, according to a release by the Cobb County School District.
Beginning in August, a student lunch will be 50 cents more and a breakfast would cost 25 cents extra. The price for adult staff lunches will also increase 25 cents, while adult guest meals will cost $3.25.
The school district says the price jump is mainly caused by the United States Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which requires school cafeterias to serve foods with more whole grains, more fresh fruits and vegetables, and lower sodium offerings. These increased nutritional standards also significantly increase food costs and personnel support to local school systems, according to the CCSD.
The school district also says that cafeteria revenues are decreasing sharply due to the Act’s restrictions on food items allowed to be sold à la carte and an increase in the number of students bringing meals from home. In addition, the law requires paid meal price equity, which means that the school district will eventually have to raise paid meal prices to equal the amount paid by the federal government for students who qualify for free lunches.
The new prices mark the first increase in school breakfast prices in 11 years. Student lunch prices have increased only 5 cents since 2002. The school district says the new meal prices for the next school year are comparable to those in neighboring Fulton and Gwinnett school systems.