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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111

Abstract

SOARES, Panmela; CABALLERO, Pablo  and  DAVO-BLANES, Mari Carmen. Purchase of local foods for school meals in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Principality of Asturias (Spain). Gac Sanit [online]. 2017, vol.31, n.6, pp.446-452. ISSN 0213-9111.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gaceta.2017.05.015.

Objective:

To explore and compare the characteristics of Primary Education Centres (PEC) in Andalusia, the Canary Islands and the Principality of Asturias depending on whether or not they make local food purchases (LFP) for school meals and to explore the opinion of cafeteria managers about the benefits and challenges of this type of purchase.

Method:

Information on the characteristics of 186 PECs and opinions of cafeteria managers about the benefits/challenges of LFP was collected through an electronic questionnaire. Data were stratified according to how the products were purchased (LFP: yes/no), and the chi square test was applied.

Results:

38.2% of the PECs studied make LFP. This is more frequent in rural areas (51.0 with self-managed cafeterias (80.0%), and their own kitchen (65.5%). These centres have less expensive menus than their peers (69.8%), participate more frequently in healthy eating programmes (81.5%) and purchase more organic food products (65.8%). According to the majority of the participants whose centres engage in LFP, the benefits include: supporting the local economy (97.2%), the offer of fresh foods (97.2%) and environmental sustainability (93.0%). The challenges include: productive capacity of the region (50.7%), the seasonal variation in food production (71.8%), and the lack of support (42.3%) and information from the government (46.5%).

Conclusion:

The location of the centres, the management of the cafeteria and the availability of a kitchen on site can influence the development of LFP in schools. Government support could help to integrate LFP in schools, improving school meals at a lower economic and environmental cost.

Keywords : School meals; Food supply; Food and nutrition security; Sustainable agriculture; Sustainable development.

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