You might think, 1 to 2 percent is not a huge impact, but let’s take a step back to focus solely on what that means for public schools and the NSLP. Food and food policy journalist, Lela Nargi, argues that “by one estimate, this translates to something like 26 percent of the NSLP-participating school’s food budget, or $1.2 billion per year worth of food thrown away in schools across the U.S.”
At this point, is it safe to say that $1.2 billion is in fact, impactful?
To combat some of the plate waste that has happened as a consequence of the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, the Food and Nutrition Service added the Offer Versus Serve (OVS) provision to the NSLP. OVS is an optional opportunity to reduce waste for school food authorities by providing students the flexibility to decline items.
“Offer Versus Serve or OVS is a concept that applies to menu planning and the meal service. OVS allows students to decline some of the food offered in a reimbursable lunch or breakfast. The goals of OVS are to reduce food waste and to permit students to choose the foods they want to eat.” Offer Versus Serve, Guidance for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.