The objective of this paper is to investigate determinants for the viability of school lunch programmes with a zero-price start-up period. The study is based on a Danish pilot experiment, in which 38 schools were subsidized to provide free school lunch for all pupils during a two-month start-up period. Data sources include application material, questionnaire surveys among the pupils, parents, and staff at the participating schools, follow-up telephone interviews with the staff, as well as interviews with suppliers. An econometric analysis suggests that price, school size, demand stimulating activities related to the schools’ support and the users’ feeling of ownership, as well as internal professionalism and leadership in the implementation of the school lunch programme are important for the viability of the programme. Strong performance on the latter factors might to some extent compensate for the gap between cost and users’ willingness to pay for school lunches.
British Food Journal, 2013, Vol 115, Issue 7, p. 1038-1053
School lunch programme, economic viability, zero-price start-up, willingness to pay-equivalents; LIFE