Dresden: price explosion at school meals: “Otherwise, more and more children will not eat lunch in the future”

Price explosion at school meals: “Otherwise more and more children will not get lunch in the future”

Prices for meals in Dresden’s schools and day care institutions have risen sharply. The parents ask the municipality to take action. Is school lunch becoming a luxury?

By Nora Domschke & Julia Vollmer


4 min

Prices for a hot meal at schools have risen sharply.
© via Sächsische Zeitung, by

Dresden. Extremely high petrol and food prices: Many Dresden people are moaning these days when they have to pull out their wallets. If you have children in school or day care, you need to dig even deeper into your pockets. Many food vendors have raised their lunch prices.

The increase per. meal is sometimes around 50 or 60 cents. Anyone who has previously paid 3.66 euros per meal for their child, as with the provider DLS, has paid 3.95 euros since 1 June. That is 79 euros in a month with 20 working days instead of 73.20 euros. This is especially difficult for parents with two or more children.

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Why are prices rising?

The provider DLS justifies the increase with, among other things, that “our suppliers have announced price increases for our purchased groceries and logistics costs in the last few weeks, which already take effect on 1 April.” The increase for purchased goods and logistics would be 18.2 percent.

“These massive cost increases represent a serious change for us. So we feel compelled to raise the price of meals, knowing that one has to bear other price increases in different areas of life as well,” the provider says in the parents’ letter. .

On its website, provider Hähnchen calculates the price increase, also with an increase in the minimum wage, based on the breakfast in the day care institution. “With the introduction and the increase in the minimum wage, a breakfast is now on average 80 øre gross. Of this, 19 percent VAT has already been deducted, so there is about 67 øre net for all other costs.” The 67 øre contains a product share of around 0.26 to 0.30 euros, but a small baking roll alone costs 0.21 euros.

The provider Variety Menu wrote to parents that food prices in March 2022 were 33.6 percent higher than in the same month last year. The prices of vegetables and fruit have in some cases tripled, dairy products are about a quarter more expensive and the prices of flour and cooking oils as well as electricity are about 50 percent higher than a year ago.

“We have no influence on the development of food and energy prices and can not compensate for the increased costs, so we had to adjust the prices on the menus accordingly,” it reads. Provider’s requirement: “Instead of the planned petrol price brake, politicians should support the supply of school meals. Municipalities and politicians should take immediate action so that all children can continue to be fed reliably regardless of the parents’ income situation.”

Children must be prevented from being deprived of food due to price developments. Johanniter spokesman Danilo Schulz also says: “Food is also becoming more expensive in some of our day care institutions. So far we have only issued advance notice, no prices yet. Here we are still in contact with the food providers.”

What do the parents say?

In a survey of all parent councils in Dresden, the Kreiselternrat asked about the recent increases and the current price level of food supply in schools. “More than three quarters of the participating schools have experienced increases in food prices this school year – not infrequently even several times,” says Stefan Kraft from the Folkeskolernes Arbejdsgruppe in the District Parents’ Council. “The sound barrier of four euros has been broken more and more often – the individual schools are already at more than 4.50 euros for a hot meal for children and young people. That makes the all-day school a social affair. We reject that.”

The deputy chair of the district’s parent council, Stephanie Pönitz, urges the city and the independent providers to act: “Concession contracts must be designed in such a way that price increases can not be implemented unilaterally and not as often as necessary. Rules and here boundaries are needed.” Formalities such as involvement in school conferences should not be ignored.

“With all the understanding of the food suppliers’ needs and their problems with financing staff, food and energy – then we need rules that take greater account of the needs of school children and their families. Otherwise, more and more children can not eat lunch during of the future of the school day. “

Is there support from the city?

Families in need of support can apply for benefits from the city’s education package. “Children, young people and young adults have the right to participate – at lunchtime in day care, after school and school, with music or sports in a club. The education package supports families in need,” says the municipality. The training package includes excursions, class trips and lunch meals. Depending on the case, whoever receives Hartz IV, housing benefit or benefits under the Asylum Seeker Benefit Act may be entitled to these benefits.

“In the first quarter of 2022, an average of 2,655 children and young people received lunch grants through the education package each month,” the city said in response to questions from SZ. For housing support and child allowance, utilization has increased by 45 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018 and 2022. According to the municipality, this is mainly due to the performance improvements that have been introduced in the meantime.

Left-wing city councilor Anne Holowenko demands: “As an immediate measure, the city should temporarily curb additional spending. In the long run, lunch at schools and day care centers should be exempt from VAT as part of the education offer and will be 19 percent cheaper. In one fell swoop.” It is up to the state to regulate it.

Green City Councilor Tina Siebeneicher emphasizes: “The lunch must continue to be affordable, the municipality must now investigate how the price development can be counteracted.”

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