Soda Sales Not So Lucrative for Schools

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One of the major arguments against removing sugary beverages like sodas and other soft drinks from school campuses is the negative financial impact it may have.

When I was working on the policy to remove sugary beverages from the Los Angeles Unified School District a few years ago, there was huge opposition from many parents, PE teachers, teachers in general, and school board members because of the fear that schools would lose much needed money from the soda revenue; money needed for uniforms, sports equipment and other school related supplies.

Well according to a new study released by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the Public Health Advocacy Institute, schools aren't making that much money from these soda sales anyway. The researchers analyzed 120 beverage contracts with schools in 16 different states and found:

-On average beverage contracts generated just $18 per student per year, not a lot.
-Not all contracts are created equally depending on the negotiating skills of the schools financial officer. Some schools' contracts generated as little as $0.60 per student per year, while others generated $93. Big discrepancy suggesting that some schools are taken advantage of.
-On average 66% of beverage sales go to the beverage companies and only 33% to the schools.
-Other fund raisers like gift wrapping and selling candles yielded on average 45% of the revenue back to the schools. A much better yield.

I'm glad this study was done and it is very revealing, but we really could have used this data in 2002. Thankfully, the school nutrition climate has changed and with all schools required to have Wellness Policies many have eliminated these unhealthful beverages already. Some states have passed legislation banning or limiting their sale in schools.

So we're finally on the right track but is your child's school still selling non-diet sugar filled beverages like regular Coke, Pepsi, Snapple and the like? If so advocate for a better nutrition environment for your child's school. Gain community support and go to the school board and work on a policy for change.

To read more about this study (and possibly use it for ammunition) click on this title Raw Deal: School Beverage Contracts Less Lucrative Than They Seem.

Have a healthful beverage filled day!
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About the Author

Registered dietitian Andrea N. Giancoli is a nutrition advocate, consultant and educator.

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