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School Lunch Food Prices Up From Last Year

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Monday marked the first day of school for kids in the Minneapolis School District. While parents may have already noticed an increase in the cost of school supplies, a new report shows you can also expect price hikes when packing your kids’ lunchbox.

The American Farm Bureau Federation surveys 16 staple foods on a quarterly basis. The total average price for those food items is up about 8 percent from one year ago. On that list are several of the foods parents reach for when packing their kids’ lunch.

Brenda Niemi said she chooses to pack her kids lunches, instead of spending money on hot school lunch.

“It’s healthy, having a little bit more control about what they eat,” she said.

What will that control cost you? New numbers show many brown bag items will cost you quite a bit more this school year than they did last year.

The items include cheddar cheese, orange juice, milk, sliced deli meat, bread and produce. Parents are taking notice.

“Milk has gone up a little bit, eggs, it seems like deli meat has gone up,” Mark Anderson said.

Students enrolled in the Minneapolis Public School District charge $1.85 for lunches to students in Pre-K through 8th grade, and $2.10 for students in grades 9 to 12.

WCCO-TV conducted our own survey on how the price of a school lunch compares with lunches kids pack their own. We packed a ham sandwich, milk, an apple and a yogurt. The price was about 15 cents to 30 cents more than if you were to buy a hot lunch from the Minneapolis School District.

These moms say the key to staying a “choosey mom” despite price hikes is re-thinking how you shop.

“I do use some coupons, sometimes it seems like it’s cheaper to just buy whatever’s on sale,” Niemi said.

The Minneapolis School District says the price of hot lunch is also up.

The Minneapolis Board of Education recently approved a recommendation to increase the price of school lunch by 10 cents in compliance with new federal guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture.

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