professionals are asking communities for a 7% increase

Will & Deni McIntyre/Getty Images

Will & Deni McIntyre/Getty Images

The price of meals in the school canteen is a matter of concern for parents this year.

BACK TO SCHOOL – “Current inflation exceeds what was foreseeable. » In an interview with AFP, Esther Kalonji, the general delegate of the National Union of Collective Catering (SNRC) warns of the rise in food prices. Last week, it was the consumer association Confédération Syndicale des Familles (CSF) which considered that it was not “It’s not impossible that families will have very bad surprises on September 1st” regarding prices in school canteens.

Indeed, for the SNRC, the contracts in force “are no longer sufficient to take into account the increase in the cost of raw materials, wages, but also energy”. Result: the union demands “on average 7% increase to our customers, town halls, communities, schools”underlines the spokesperson Anne-Laure Desclèves on France News.

According to the SNRC, communities have so far agreed to an average increase of around 4%. In France, private collective catering companies manage 40% of school canteens within the framework of a public service delegation, 60% being managed directly by the municipalities.

“The idea is not to see the bill for families increase”

For municipalities, these requests “do not seem excessive at first glance”, reacted the mayor (UDI) of Sceaux Philippe Laurent, vice-president of the Association of Mayors of France (AMF). According to him, “most municipalities will accept” requests from professionals.

But what impact for households? “The idea is not to see the bill for families increase”Esther Kalonji told AFP. “It’s up to the community, not us, to decide whether or not the repercussions on the parents”abounds Anne-Laure Desclèves, on France News.

The price increase on which local authorities and service providers will agree, on a case-by-case basis, “will not systematically entail a higher cost at the start of the 2022 school year”, believes the CSF. She recalls that a possible increase at the end of the chain will be made by decision of the town halls for nursery and primary schools, of the departments for the colleges, and of the regions for the high schools.

Compared to the other price increases that communities are currently facing, that of the price of canteen meals appears less sensitive, adds Philippe Laurent. “If I take the example of my town of 20,000 inhabitants, the collective catering budget weighs around 800,000 euros. A 7% increase is 56,000 euros more, a figure to be compared with the overall budget which is around 40 million euros”he said.

Financial support

The social pricing of meals, in force in about half of the municipalities, could also make it possible to protect households with the smallest budgets from an additional financial effort.

The municipalities will also be able to choose to impose price increases only on the parents with the highest incomes, or to increase local taxes as a whole. Or even reduce their expenses. “Each will make their choice”emphasizes Philippe Laurent, recalling that “even the parents with the highest incomes today do not pay all the meals”the average cost of which is comprised “between 9 and 10 euros”.

He hopes that the consequence will not be a lower quality, or a lower quantity of meals served to French students. “Our requests should not be made to the detriment of the quality of the menus”, Approves Esther Kalonji. In 2018, the Egalim law set the target for public canteens to serve at least 50% of so-called sustainable or quality products, including 20% ​​from organic farming.

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