TABLE 3-2 Competitive Foods and Beverages Revenue in Schools






Percentage of schools with more than $100,000 revenue from competitive foods and beverages





Percentage of schools with less than $1,000 revenue from competitive foods and beverages





Average annual competitive foods and beverages revenue per schoola





Approximate number of schoolsb





Estimated total competitive food revenues across all schoolsc




$2.3 billion

Reference figure: Total expenditures of all schoolsd




$384 billion

aComputed assuming that averages were approximated by midpoints of ranges in GAO, 2005, p. 28.

bBased on GAO (2005), p. 54.

cExtrapolated based on numbers of schools and the average annual competitive foods and beverages revenue per school.

dTotal expenditures in all U.S. schools for all purposes; based on multiplying an estimate of per pupil annual cost of $8,000, times approximately 48 million pupils.

expenditures, it is quite low—less than 1 percent. However, as a share of the overall money spent on food service in the schools, it is much more substantial. Federal school meal program costs for 2004 are estimated to have been about $9.4 billion (Source: [accessed February 27, 2007]). With the estimated $2.3 billion of competitive foods, this implies a total revenue related to food service of $11.7 billion. Competitive food and beverage sales represents about 19 percent of this figure. To place this number in perspective, the total expenditures on public schools was approximately $384 billion.

A third perspective that may be more meaningful than either of the above is that discussed in GAO (2005). Competitive food monies may be a very important source of revenue for schools because they fund a significant share of discretionary activities that cannot be funded out of regular school activities (see additional discussion below).

In most schools, the majority of competitive food monies is likely to come from à la carte sales in the cafeteria. Data for high schools suggest that à la carte sales make up well over 50 percent of total revenues related to competitive foods and beverages. Similar conclusions can be drawn from

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