School and daycare meals: Providers want to renegotiate prices

school lunch

Students having lunch in the canteen. Photo: Jens Kalaene/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa/Archive image

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Potatoes, pasta and tomatoes – many foods have become significantly more expensive. However, providers of school and daycare meals still have to make do with fixed prices. That pushes her to the limit.

In view of the inflation, suppliers of school and day-care center meals in Berlin and Brandenburg are finding it increasingly difficult to work economically. “Purchasing prices have risen by 20 to 35 percent in recent months. That was not foreseeable at all when the tenders were closed, »said Ralf Blauert, chairman of the Association of German School and Daycare Centers, the German Press Agency. This Wednesday, association members from all over Germany will meet in Wildau (Dahme-Spreewald) to look for solutions to the crisis.

«We don’t want to go backwards with the high quality standard that we have achieved after years of painstaking work. Nobody wants to save on the quality of their food,” emphasized the Potsdam caterer Blauert. Chefs have to get creative, but the menu cannot be fundamentally changed. “We are adding and forgoing profit,” said the chairman.

In Berlin the price for a school meal has been 4.36 euros since August 2021 and is fixed until the end of July 2024. The extraordinary circumstances caused by the war in Ukraine now required an adjustment of the contracts. It is still unclear how much additional money is needed. This must be discussed in discussions. Some caterers in Brandenburg and other federal states have already succeeded in renegotiating.

“In Berlin, the situation is muddled. The Senate specifies and leaves implementation to the districts. This is not so helpful in problem situations. Everyone points fingers at each other. And we stand in between,” criticizes Blauert. Efforts are being made to get in touch with the district offices and senate administrations and to find solutions. Benevolent signals had come from some districts and a willingness to talk had been announced.

«The contracts with the school caterers have been concluded by the individual districts as school authorities. That’s how it is in Berlin,” explains the spokesman for the school administration, Martin Klesmann. “We cannot publicly provide any information on the respective contract design because we are not the contractual partner. From our point of view, it would be advisable for the districts to act as one on this issue,” Klesmann continued.

When asked, the Neukölln district announced that the topic would be discussed with the other districts and the Senate administration. A spokesman for the district said: “It is not easy to change the contracts, the budget has also been decided in fact and offers no ad hoc leeway. Nevertheless, a Berlin-wide solution must be found in order to continue to offer high-quality food at Berlin schools.» From the CDU parliamentary group in the House of Representatives it said: “For months, something has been boiling up in our schools and daycare centers: not only rising prices, but also the Berlin minimum wage of 13 euros per hour caterers the calculation.” The Senate and the districts pushed the buck back and forth.

The association of caterers had already published a fire letter in April to draw attention to the difficult situation. It was time for the state to intervene, it said. And: “Contracts between caterers and the public sector must be renegotiated flexibly and unbureaucratically and adapted to the given circumstances. And not next month or after the summer holidays, but now! »