SUGAR LAND, Texas – The Fort Bend Independent School District said a shortage of certain foods and products is creating challenges for its food service.
“The meal’s nutritious. The meal’s free,” said Matt Antignolo, Director of Child Nutrition. “But it might not be what was originally advertised.”
He said issues with the supply chain are to blame.
“I spoke with our distributor sales rep that I deal with and he feels like it’s a lack of truck drivers to move the products from point A to point B and then also some warehouses or manufacturers just don’t have the people to manufacture the items needed,” Antignolo said.
For example, he said obtaining chicken products and disposable trays has been a challenge lately but the district still has to feed students.
“Even if we don’t have an item, we have to substitute with a like item so we can still meet those nutritional requirements on a daily basis,” Antignolo said.
Alternatives can come with a cost.
“A normal styrofoam tray, for instance, is about four cents and some of the substitutes that were available, that we had no option but we had to take them, are ten, 11 cents per each tray,” Antignolo said.
Considering the thousands of students who dine each day, he said those pennies can quickly add up.
Antignolo said he’s spoken with other local districts who are experiencing similar issues. Antignolo and the CFO plan to ask the school board for permission to use other vendors to help fill the gap on some of the items, if needed.
For now, the school district is asking parents and students to be patient and understand that what’s on the menu may not be what’s served that day.