School Lunch: Student Body Weighs In

SAHANA ALI '23 and AVA YAP '23

After the introduction of Maschio’s Food Service Inc. to Edison Township in September 2021, replacing Chartwells, Edison’s lunch provider for many years, the US Department of Agriculture announced that lunch meals will be provided free of charge for all students.

According to an Eagle’s Eye survey from October 19, lunch free of charge incentivized students to eat school lunch. The results confirm the common-sense notion that people are more likely to eat food if they don’t have to pay for it. Results demonstrate that 83.6% of students are more likely to eat lunch this year since it is free, however, 75.2% say that they would not continue to eat school lunch if it was not free.

How so?

Various students stated that the quality of the food is decent, but major improvements need to be made to keep students’ interest if they plan to revoke free lunch in the following years. Divena Deshmukh ’23 who buys lunch almost every day said, “there needs to be more improvement of the quality of the food. For example, the fries from the grill station need to be cooked more and have more seasonings.

Veronika Racz ’23 voiced her concern that there should be diverse meals served and more options to choose from. “I wish they had more options available because it is mostly the same thing every day; they always have pepperoni, cheese, and buffalo pizza,” she said. “They had empanadas and chicken wings last week they will probably have it again this week.”

Though there are a couple of options to choose from, students like Racz shared that repeated meals seen throughout the weeks bore them. Students responded to school lunch as being decent with room for improvements through the addition of seasonings, flavors, and broadened the food options. 

Another wide concern expressed by many students was that the quantity of the food was not sufficient to last them throughout the entire day. Rajas Tewari ‘24 said, “they should serve food in greater proportions because when you eat such like 5 chicken nuggets [which was October 25th hot lunch] at 10 AM, you tend to get hungry towards the end of the day.”

The time differences of lunch periods can leave students feeling hungry or full depending on their lunch period. Kevin Wu ’23 said that, “with lunch being free for everyone, supply may decrease but in regards to how such food servings can be lowered by period 8 even the salad line.” Though repeated meals are quite common, the students analyzed that the quality isn’t sufficient and decreases through the lunch period creating a rush for students to get food before it runs out.

Michael Micklos ‘22 said, “there should be more varieties and larger sizes of free drinks offered since I tend to drink when I also eat.” 

Despite EHS serving a larger number of students for free, students feel that the quality and quantity of school lunch is insufficient. While acknowledging the benefits of free lunch, students wish that the Maschio offered more varieties and options for meals along with larger proportion sizes that would be adequate for all students.