Not necessarily. Evidence from Los Angeles Unified School District shows that institutions can improve food quality, without increasing costs and in some cases, actually decreasing costs through simple changes to their purchasing decisions.

Some food products may be more expensive, but there are many creative strategies that institutions employ to offset potential cost increases, such as shifting toward local producers to reduce travel and storage cost of perishables or redesigning menus to reduce relatively more expensive meat purchases and redirect to produce and alternative proteins. The Center for Good Food Purchasing can advise on which strategies may work best for an institution based on budget, current purchasing patterns, and short and long-term goals. The Center can also connect an institution to one of our many expert partners engaged in value chain innovations for additional technical support.