School breakfasts programme – La Paz, Bolivia

Key Insights

  • Healthy school breakfasts
  • Native foods in public procurement
  • Partnering with local food manufacturers


School breakfast provision is a requirement under the Bolivian constitution but the food is often nutritionally poor and high in sugar. In 2000 the city of La Paz overhauled its breakfast menu to ensure children receive healthy food with no added sugar. It worked with local food manufacturers to develop healthy foods made with native Andean grains, such as quinoa and amaranth. The programme has contributed to a reduction in anaemia among school children in La Paz. It also inspired a national law to replace transgenic, packaged foods with native and regionally grown alternatives.


This case study version is from the Menu of Actions (2019). Suggested citation: Halliday, J., Platenkamp, L., Nicolarea, Y. (2019) A menu of actions to shape urban food systems for improved nutrition, GAIN, MUFPP and RUAF.

School children in La Paz (Bolivia), Shutterstock/Alexandre Laprise

The action and its aims

La Paz introduced changes to its school breakfasts programme to ensure the 140,000 children who attend the city’s 400 schools all receive healthy foods, such as fruit, milk with no added sugar, wholegrains, and traditional Andean foods like quinoa and amaranth.

When it was introduced

The changes were introduced in 2000.

Why it was needed

They were needed because although school breakfasts are a requirement under the Bolivian constitution, the foods provided tended to be nutritionally poor and high in sugar. A typical breakfast consisted of chocolate, wafers and flavoured milk.

Who initiated it, who is involved

The school breakfasts programme in La Paz is run by the local government Secretariat for Human Development, which works with local food companies to develop healthy foods using Andean ingredients.

Impacts to date

In its first eight years the school breakfast regime contributed to a 30% reduction in anaemia among school children in La Paz. It inspired a new national law that came into effect in late 2014, under which schools must replace transgenic and packaged foods with native and regional foods. The changes also benefit local farmers by providing them with a secure market.

More information: A similar action has been implemented in Milan (Italy), where the city-owned public sector caterer Milano Ristorazione has cooperated with farm consortium Distretto Agricolo Milanese (DAM) to procure produce from 20 local horticultural supply chains, including rice. The aim is to spread a culture of environmental sustainability and nutrition, and to improve quality and traceability of school food.

Do you have an update to this case study?

Contact us

Further reading

What can you do?

Learn about more themes and topics

Share your city’s case study and lessons learned

Sign up to receive updates

Learn more about upcoming events and other highlights 

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Food System

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a significant number of interconnected objectives related to agriculture and food.

Contact details



Related case studies