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School meals get ugly
The gloves came off last week. After the USDA announced leniency for rules regarding whole-grain pasta, the U.S. House backed a bill that would allow districts to opt out of new school meal pattern regulations if they could prove the rules were a financial burden.
Reducing staff hours/positions is the most often cited tactic operators employ to cut costs (48%). B&I, colleges and schools are more likely than hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care, senior living and retirement homes to cut the number of menu items as a way to reduce costs. Schools (28%) are the most likely to lower costs by making fewer items from scratch. Colleges are the most likely segment to reduce hours of operation (34%).
New breakfast regulations are easier to meet and are causing fewer negative student reactions than last year's lunch ones. That's borne out by statistics that show participation for the morning meal holding steady in the past two years. This year's K-12 Census Report also looks at the cost per meal, participation levels and the new competitive foods rules.