Project: 2021 WHO Healthy School Feeding Analysis

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published the Action Framework for Developing and Implementing Public Food Procurement and Service Policies for a Healthy Diet. This action framework provides guidance for governments to provide healthy food through public food procurement and service policy. 

Limestone was tasked to look at the costs and benefits of healthier procurement for school feeding programs. In our analysis, we looked at the feasibility of investing in healthier school feeding programs, taking into consideration the political and institutional factors and how the design of the program can affect the program’s impact.

We found that, on average, every dollar invested in making school feeding programs healthier generates $10 of benefits through reduction in NCDs, improved education outcomes, and improved dental health in children. This study conservatively estimates the health and education benefits associated with making school feeding programs healthier. The value of these benefits, when discounted at 5%, significantly surpasses the costs.

The graph below demonstrates the global average benefits per dollar spent on improving the quality of food provided through school feeding programs.

We found similar results across most regions. The benefits of the program per dollar spent range from 0.8 to 13.7 across regions with a global average of 10 USD. In the African Region, the benefits of increasing health did not outweigh the costs. This result is primarily driven by low-income levels in the African Region, reducing the value of both health and education benefits.

Clients / Partners




WHO Healthy School Feeding Analysis Report