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Tasty and waste-free food – The alternative to improve the use of public resources in School Feeding Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean

Case studies in three countries










Sternadt, D., Mellado, J.P., Rivas-Mariño, G. and Moyano, D. 2021.  Tasty and waste-free food – The alternative to improve the use of public resources in School Feeding Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean. Santiago, FAO. 




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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Including gastronomy in the School Feeding Programme: The alternative to achieve the right to healthy, tasty and waste-free food
    Guidance note for the pilot project in Barranquilla, Colombia
    2021
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    Each year, the department of Barranquilla, Colombia, invests around 40 billion Colombian pesos (USD 12.2 million) in the School Feeding Programme (PAE) to feed 113 818 children and adolescents. This research estimated that including gastronomic techniques in just one menu of the PAE Barranquilla could prevent 99.7 tonnes of food waste, which represents around USD 159 000 per year (1.5 percent of the total budget). This food waste is partly due to students leaving the food that they do not find tasty on their plate. These data are derived from a small-scale pilot intervention, with a before-and-after assessment design, carried out in an educational institution in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia, where the gastronomic quality of a school menu was improved through a reinforcement training provided by a professional chef to the PAE food handlers. In order to identify if there were differences before and after the intervention, a survey was applied to a sample of children aged 8 to 14 years, which resulted in an increase in acceptance (from 52 percent to 72 percent) and a decrease in food waste (87.6 grammes on average per child per day).
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Including gastronomy in the School Feeding Programme – A necessary change to guarantee children's right to healthy, tasty and waste-free food
    Guidance note for the pilot project in San Marcos, Guatemala
    2021
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    Each year, the Guatemalan State invests about 1 869.2 million Quetzals (USD 245 million) in the national School Feeding Programme (PAE, by its acronym in Spanish), which feeds 2.4 million children. This research estimates that, by including gastronomy in the PAE, it is possible to prevent in a school year (180 days), the waste of 561.6 tonnes of food, equivalent to USD 864 000, or 0.35 percent of the invested budget. This food waste is partly due to children refusing to eat food that they do not find tasty. These data are derived from a small-scale, pre-and post-design pilot intervention in an educational institution in the Department of San Marcos, Guatemala, where the gastronomic quality of a school menu improved due to a back-up training provided by a professional chef for the PAE cooks. In order to identify whether there were differences before and after the intervention, a survey was applied to a sample of children aged 8 to 14, which resulted in an increase in acceptance (from 84 percent to 90 percent) and a decrease in food waste (by 1.3 grammes on average per child per day). Taking as a reference the cost of implementing a gastronomic laboratory in the Chilean PAE (0.017 percent of the total budget), and counterbalancing it with the resources corresponding to food waste in the PAE Guatemala (0.35 percent of the total budget), it appears clearly that investing in gastronomy is a useful mechanism to optimise the use of public resources invested in the PAE. For this reason, based on the findings of this study, it is highly advisable to incorporate gastronomic personnel into the PAE team, who can advise throughout the entire implementation chain.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Legal frameworks for sustainable school feeding
    A dialogue based on the Latin American and Caribbean scenario
    2023
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    The publication, developed within the framework of the school feeding project of the Brazil-FAO International Cooperation Program, aims to share some experiences and the development of the process of elaboration and implementation of legal and regulatory frameworks on school feeding, and to identify some fundamental elements for its development. It is aimed at parliamentarians, policymakers, actors in the school community and those people and professionals who have the interest, will and intention to develop a Bill in favour of school feeding. The publication indicates paths, advances and challenges faced by the various nations of Latin America and the Caribbean for the strengthening, consolidation and institutionalization of their school feeding programs, as a fundamental public policy in guaranteeing the human right to adequate and healthy food in the school environment.

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