New USDA Data Shows Impact of Pandemic on Meals Served and Reimbursements


School-Nutrition-Meals-Served-and-Reimbursements-During-the-Pandemic-June2021-Data-1An SNA analysis of new data from the USDA compares number of meals served and reimbursements for school nutrition programs between School Year (SY) 2019-20 and SY 2020-21. The report finds that there were 676,899,359 fewer total meals (breakfasts and lunches) served in SY 2020-21 as compared to SY 2019-20. This amounts to a 10.94% loss in meals served. 

The largest loss by meal type was for lunches, which were down 17.76%, or 692,975,102 lunches, compared to SY 2019-20. Meanwhile, the number of total breakfasts served in SY 2020-21 actually increased by 8.70%, or 198,814,736 breakfasts, compared to SY 2019-20. 

The analysis also found that in SY 2019-20, SFSP meals accounted for 12.06% percent of total meals served. In SY 2020-21, SFSP meals accounted for 54.07% percent of total meals served, an increase of 42.01% of all meals served. This explains why the total amount of reimbursements for NSLP lunches, SBP breakfasts, and SFSP meals in SY 2020-21 were up 9.25%, or $1,450,522,640, compared to SY 2019-20. This is due to the higher reimbursement rate for SFSP meals as compared to NSLP/SBP meals an annual inflationary adjustments.

For charts, tables, and specifics by meal type, view the full report by clicking here.

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