AGI – With the resumption of the school, a tile fell on the heads of families: this year the meals in the canteen (where they are still planned) have risen by 25%. Which means that a meal that yesterday was paid € 4.80 today costs € 6. This was announced to AGI by Massimiliano Fabbro, president of Anir Confindustria, the national association of catering companies.
The reason is obvious: the contracts between the catering companies and the municipality – the only client as regards the school canteens – are multi-year and were all stipulated before the epidemic, therefore they do not take into account the new problems related to Covid. “They all date back to 2019 and even earlier, when the audience was much wider”.
Today, many schools have reduced or even eliminated meal times and “the consequence is that catering companies have found themselves preparing a much smaller number of meals but with the same costs as a year ago. to fit the budget they have increased prices“.
The service, explains Fabbro, “consists of two items: one relating to personnel and that of raw materials. Workers account for 60% of the final price and, as user volumes decrease, the number of workers involved in production, preparation and service decreases slightly “. And so “the contractor must increase the price to remain in economic equilibrium”.
Worse still would have been if the lunchbox had become a reality for most schools rather than a few as it is now. “The lunchbox had been a diktat of the Miur which was then rectified. The reasons are various and range from the lower organoleptic quality to the lower hygienic-sanitary safety up to the economic problems: that is, it costs more because companies must equip themselves with sealing and packaging. All this would have resulted in a 30% increase“.
What can be done to curb the surge in costs for families? “First of all the municipality could take charge of this increase. They have the economic capacity to cope with this increase because during the months of the lockdown they no longer had costs that they had already allocated. As for the sanitation costs, they have a dedicated budget of around 75 million euros. So that saved money could be used to cover the increases without asking families for it. Some municipalities do it, others don’t, they are political choices “, Fabbro observes. Secondly,” we must take the path of renegotiating contracts, with new supply conditions that take into account the reduction of users and the burdens on businesses ” .
What if it is not possible to lower the price? The ball returns “to the municipality that will decide whether or not to take charge of the increase”. On the other hand, it is useless to blame the school: “The headmaster does not have the financial capacity necessary to solve these problems. It is not his competence”.
But there is more. For Fabbro, the horizon could take on even more gloomy colors: “Faced with this collapse in users – some rightly linked to problems of space, others instead to a simplification of the school administration – the prospect is of further price increases and rain of collective redundancies at the end of the redundancy fund occupational and social consequences whereas women represent 90% of the school catering workforce “.