MELBOURNE, May 17 - An association for Australian school canteens, ASCA, says the changes to government healthy-eating guidelines are placing increasing pressure on the food providers.
"We hope the school canteen is here to stay but canteen profitability has come under pressure in recent years," ASCA chief executive David Edwards said.
"Sixty-three per cent of secondary school canteens are citing healthy food guidelines and staff costs as reasons for reduced profits."
Secondary students are also giving the canteen a miss and buying their lunch from local shops, the organisation says.
On Wednesday, ASCA is launching cookbook Food for Thought, which will be sent free to 2000 school canteens.
It says the nation is "entering the era of the canteen chef rather than the traditional tuckshop manager".
The non-profit organisation says the book has been devised to inspire new menu ideas as well as provide tools to help canteens run as a successful business.
"There will be information on food and recipe costing as well as a catering section to increase profits," Edwards said.
ASCA, which supplies goods to canteens, says healthy meals can be profitable but schools need to ensure staff have appropriate skills, are well resourced and have great menu ideas.