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National food supply shortages impacting daily menus

(11/12/2021) Supply chain issues are impacting school meal programs nationwide, resulting in the need to make last-minute menu changes.

The Anoka-Hennepin child nutrition program (CNP) plans menus long before the school year begins. In January, the district makes commitments to manufacturers to purchase food and menus for the entire district are finalized in May. Menus are created following specific nutritional requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Once menus are created, the district provides a distributor its estimated food usage for the year and the distributor then provides the numbers to the food manufactures to begin production.

With the current supply chain issues, the district is experiencing major shortages of food products. Just as you may have seen empty shelves at a grocery store, the same is happening at schools. When manufacturers short food distributors, the district receives little to no advance notice, which requires quick menu changes based on what foods are available.

Due to a USDA waiver, all school meals are free this school year. The district is seeing a large increase in meal participation, almost 2,000 more meals daily for breakfast and 1,500 meals for lunch compared to the 2018-19 school year. With increases in meals, this also requires the district to acquire more food.

Breakfast and lunch menus are subject to change based on food item availability from our distributor and manufacturers. Child nutrition will continue to do its best to serve regular menus, but adjustments may need to be made. If changes are made, CNP will make every effort to post the menu changes in a timely manner. If you have questions about allergens in products, please contact the child nutrition department at 763-506-1240 or Anoka-Hennepin is committed to ensuring guests are fed healthy and nutritious meals each day.

Thank you for your support and understanding through these times. Anoka-Hennepin CNP looks forward to serving our guests each and every day.