The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School


The Student News Site of Cranford High School



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Expensive Muffins: Lunch Inflation at CHS


According to a March 2023 article, “I Tried Every CHS Muffin So You Don’t Have To,” reviewing the school’s muffins last year, the (subjectively) delicious baked goods formerly cost a reasonable $2.45. However, loyal muffin enthusiasts may have noticed a significant increase in prices this year. When asked how she feels about having to pay $3.25 for her usual order, a double chocolate muffin, Abby Nam said that at least “the overall quality and taste [has] stayed the same, [although] they seem to have shrunk in size this past year.” Other students, however, feel more strongly about the pricing: “The prices now are ridiculous,” says Sophia Edwards, a senior at Cranford High School who misses the cafeteria prices from her sophomore year. 

While Pomptonian Food Service—Cranford High School’s lunch supplier—does not disclose any information about their price changes on their website, the general increase in costs per item may be caused by national and regional inflation in grocery prices, a trend that has notably continued since 2020. According to The White House, factors like the shift in demand from restaurants to groceries during the COVID pandemic of 2020, supply chain bottlenecks, and the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War contribute to current grocery inflation. Increased prices of ingredients like flour from 2022 to 2023 may have especially influenced the drastic upcharge in the cafeteria’s gourmet muffins. 

While seeing high prices can be frustrating, it is also important to consider whether the cost reflects the quality. As part of CHS’ effort to serve more nutritious foods to its students, the cafeteria serves higher quality products using  outside businesses like Boar’s Head or Pizza Zone, meaning the lunch prices are correspondingly higher than traditional cafeteria food. Many students also fail to take advantage of the fruit, vegetable, and water or 8-oz milk offered with a student lunch for no additional cost. 

Theft also presents a prevalent issue in the cafeteria. In just ten minutes, we observed two cookies, two coffees, and a bag of chips pocketed or snuck past the cashier, and one empty and one half-eaten hot lunch plate was left right on the food counter. While recent changes such as closing the middle doors in the small cafe’s lunch line to eliminate a quick exit or enforcing supervision of the lunchline by a lunch-duty teacher, students continue to find ways to avoid paying for lunch, raising the question: is it simply an act of rebellion and not caring by the students, or a testament to unaffordable, daily prices?

On the bright side, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy expanded eligibility for students of public and private schools to receive free lunch under the Working Class Families Anti-Hunger Act on January 16th of this year. 

What are your opinions on the cafeteria prices? Is the quality worth the cost, or are the muffins now too expensive to indulge in?

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