Toolkit: Identifying the Actual Cost of a Meal – Parts 1 and 2

A quality senior nutrition program should be future-focused, client-focused, entrepreneurial-minded and should demonstrate business acumen. Those running and overseeing quality senior nutrition programs, independent of their size, must understand why it is imperative to fully understand their actual costs and acceptable “profit margins” before participating in this changing business arena.

The following resources support the webinar training “Identifying the Actual Cost of a Meal – Parts 1 and 2” provided on May 16 and 23, 2013.

Part 1 – What Is The Importance For Nutrition Programs?
Presenters were:
Paul Downey, President/CEO of Senior Community Centers and President National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP)
Leighanna Konetski, RD, Nutritionist, State Unit on Aging, Colorado Department of Human Services
Maria Mahar, MA, RDN, CDN, Director of Nutrition Services, Onondaga County Department of Aging and Youth.

Part 2 – focused on Understanding And Calculating Meal Costs.
Presenter: Audrey McCool, EdD, RD, LD, Emeritus Professor from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.


Identifying the Actual Cost of a Meal Part 1, Printable (PDF) Format

Identifying the Actual Cost of a Meal Part 2, Printable (PDF) Format

Key Resources

Identifying the Actual Cost of a Meal
  • Cost = price paid to acquire, produce, accomplish or maintain anything
  • Price = the sum in money or goods for which anything is or may be bought or sold
  • Expenditure = Outlays/payments made by the SUA and/or AAA’s using OAA federal funds to provide an allowable service
  • Total Service Expenditure = OAA expenditures plus all other funds administered by the SUA and/or AAA’s on behalf of elderly individuals and caregivers for services meeting the definition of OAA services
  • Rate = a fixed charge per unit of quantity
  • Revenue = the amount of money regularly coming in, income, profits

Glossary of Common Cost Management Terminology


Cost (Price) Model 101 Training- Cincinnati, Ohio


Developing The Meal Cost For Your Title VI Program-PDF (AoA/ACL)

FFY13-IIIC Invoice Workbook (Massachusetts Mass Exec Office of Elder Affairs)

Bid Specifications (Massachusetts Mass Exec Office of Elder Affairs)

Title III Cost Study Worksheets (AoA/ACL)

Business Capacity & Acumen