Roughly 30 million kids in the U.S. eat school lunch every day, and "Big Food" companies have a pretty big stake in what makes it on kids' trays. It starts with federal money, but before USDA funding makes it to cafeterias, many school districts order from food giants like Tyson and PepsiCo who grab a big slice of the school lunch pie.
We hear a lot about school lunches in America and the food itself doesn't always get the best reputation. From Hollywood depictions to real life memories, the school cafeteria is a quintessential part of American culture.
Who decides what food gets put on the tray? And how come one school serves this on a $1.25 budget, while another serves this? Why are teachers working at McDonald's for a night? And how does a slice of Domino's pizza meet USDA guidelines?
Those are all loaded questions with complicated answers, but if you really boil it down the answer is money. Lots and lots of money.
The billion lunches that get doled out in school cafeterias every year make up a multibillion dollar industry that makes sure millions of kids are fed. It starts with federal money but on its way to cafeterias, school districts have to order the meals and food giants grab a big slice of the school lunch pie.
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How Brands Like Domino's Profit From School Lunch