Supply chain shortages hit central Arkansas school cafeterias

Local News
January 01 2022 12:00 am

SHERIDAN, Ark. – For months, supply chain shortages have been making headlines, impacting everything from holiday shopping to ammunition.

But international holdups and shortages have also been changing what’s served up at school.

Central Arkansas school districts have had to substitute food items and find other channels for supplies, although all say the impact hasn’t been drastic enough to cut down on servings.

Erin Wilkes is the director of foodservice for Cabot Schools. She’s seen firsthand how supply chain issues have been impacting what gets served, from harder-to-find items to delays in shipments.

“We’ve definitely seen some difficulty in getting certain items,” Wilkes said. “The chicken, beef, those types of things.”

It’s now a common problem; out of the eight school districts KARK / Fox 16 spoke with, seven said they’re feeling the stretch and are having to adjust their food line.

“We’ve had a few substitutions of some foods or possibly a substituted brand,” explained Andy Mayberry with the Sheridan School District. He says their cafeterias have been hit hardest by a lack of paper goods, having to work around a lack of certain disposable items like styrofoam serving trays.

Wilkes at Cabot said their issues have mostly been protein options, and they’ve had to stock up on shipments a few weeks ago to make sure there are no gaps in food.

But while the diversity of choice may take a hit, the food freeze isn’t stopping districts from dishing up meals. Mayberry says he doubts the students even notice a difference, with the worst outcome being a sudden menu change the morning of.

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