Education Board approves school meal price increase


The new meal prices mark the first increase since 2011 and help account for inflation and labor costs.

​​HONOLULU - Public school breakfast and lunch prices will increase next school year for the first time since 2011 due to inflation and labor costs.

The new prices approved today by the Hawaii State Board of Education (BOE) are in accordance with a 2009 state law requiring the Hawaii State Department of Education (DOE) to charge at least half the cost of preparing the meals. 

Student lunch and breakfast prices will increase by 25 cents and 10 cents, respectively, next school year. Reduced-price meals served to economically disadvantaged students will remain unchanged at 30 cents for breakfast and 40 cents for lunch. Students who qualify for free meals also will not be impacted.

The price increases noted below are needed to offset higher food costs and agreed labor contract raises.

Meal​CurrentSchool Year 2015-16
Breakfast K-8​​$1.00​$1.10
​Breakfast 9-12​$1.10​$1.20
​Breakfast (second meal and adult)​$2.20​$2.40
​Lunch K-8​$2.25​$2.50
​Lunch 9-12​$2.50​$2.75
​Lunch (second meal and adult)​$5.00​$5.50

“In order for our schools to continue to provide quality meals for our students, the food we provide cannot be heavily processed,” said Dann Carlson, assistant superintendent for School Facilities and Support Services. “Serving nutritious food made by our staff is better for our students but it comes at a cost.” 

The last meal price increase took effect in March 2011. The DOE has taken steps to reduce the cost of school meals, including the use of a centralized vendor to leverage larger purchasing power for better prices.

The DOE serves more than 100,000 meals daily during the school year. All meals served must meet U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines. Read more about the DOE’s nutritional guidelines here.

Requirements include additional servings of fruit and vegetables, a greater variety of vegetables, and whole grains. All of the meals served in Hawaii's public schools meet or exceed USDA nutrition standards.

Studies show children who eat school lunches are more likely to consume milk, meats, grains and vegetables than students who bring lunch from home. They also tend to have higher nutrient intakes — both at lunch and over the course of an entire day. It is a DOE priority to ensure students get nutritious meals that fuel learning and physical activities. 

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