At school, the canteen is more expensive. Records in Basilicata and Campania
Among the costs that families have to budget is that of the school canteen. This cost, which primarily falls on the Municipality, has not remained unscathed by the increase in the prices of raw materials and energy: according to the VI Survey on the tariffs and quality of Cittadinanzattiva school canteens, anticipated by Sole 24 Ore, a family " media" in Italy - three people (two parents and a minor child) with an annual gross income of 44,200 euros and an ISEE of 19,900 - paid out 734.50 euros for the 2022/23 school year, net of extra fees for meals in kindergarten - around 4 euros per meal - and 743.40 euros for primary schools, where lunch, on average, costs 4.13 euros a day.
In both cases, the cost of the service for families exceeds that of the 2020/21 school year by more than 2%: the average annual fee for the canteen of kindergartens, at a national level, rose by 2.38%. while that of primary school by 2.14 per cent. «Apart from striking cases, one gets the impression that there is an adjustment of the tariffs to the greater expenses that the Municipalities have to face and that, in many cases, there has been an effort by the local authorities not to adjust the cost too much upwards to be downloaded onto families», explains Adriana Bizzarri, national coordinator of the Cittadinanzattiva school. Who adds: «Another factor that probably affected or will affect these costs are the guidelines on collective catering that the Ministry of Health published in 2021, 10 years after the last ones, to promote the adoption of eating habits correct for health".
Italian provincial capitals
From the survey, which monitors the Italian provincial capitals (with the exception of Bolzano and Trento, where the cost of the canteen is not calculated on the basis of the ISEE, and is in any case around 4 euros per meal) some striking cases actually emerge such as the maxi increase recorded in Basilicata, the most expensive region: the cost of canteens for children aged 3 to 6 rose by almost 26%, going from 779 to 981 euros, while in elementary school it recorded a +19%, from just over of 824 to 981 euros. The cost of school meals in Potenza weighs on the average: the annual fee for both kindergarten and primary school is 1,123 euros, a sharp increase compared to the 721.80 euros of the 2020/21 school year. «During the pandemic we went from a more traditional administration to that with a sealed single-portion tray - explains Alessandra Sagarese, councilor for public education of the Municipality of Potenza-. For the first year we managed to bear the extra cost, about 1.50 euros per meal, but then we had to move it to families due to lack of funds. On the other hand, we have tried to facilitate the less well-off and the more numerous households with a remodulation of the exemptions and introducing discounts. We hope we can do better."
There was also a double-digit jump in the price in Campania, where it increased by an average of 12.5%, going from 650 to 730 euros per year (the rates for kindergartens and primary schools are almost in line). There, the most expensive capital is Salerno, with 810 euros against 612 euros two years ago. The least expensive region is Sardinia (561 euros, -4.6% on 2020/21).
Noon, more significant increases
The cities of the South have recorded the most significant increase in tariffs: the cost of canteens in kindergartens has risen by 5.34%, more than double the national average, while in the Center the tariffs have even decreased (- 1.25%) and in the North grew less than the average (+1.41%). The situation is similar for primary school costs (where the rates in some cases are deliberately lower, as they are compulsory schools): «The territorial disparity of the cost of the canteen in some areas is striking, even in proportion to the cost of living. Moreover, there are no bonuses, only deductions», says Bizzarri.
Among the cities where meals are more expensive, Turin stands out (1,188 euros for kindergarten), Livorno (1,152 euros a year, both kindergarten and elementary school) and Trapani (1,152 euros for primary school). Among the least expensive, however, Barletta wins with only 360 euros a year. Rome (418 euros) is the cheapest of the big cities: «The Capital has always stood out for these policies - concludes Bizzarri - but from next year the menu will change and this will have an impact on the cost. For now, it is the Municipality that bears most of the expenditure.