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High number of children 'unaware of where food comes from'

05 | 06 | 13

A new study has discovered that a surprising number of UK children are unaware of where many common foods come from.

In a survey of over 27,500 youngsters from across the country by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), 29 per cent of primary school kids claimed cheese comes from plants and 18 per cent thought fish fingers are made with chicken. 

While these results may sound amusing, they demonstrate a worrying lack of awareness that could lead to children making poor decisions when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating. 

The study was completed as part of the BNF's Healthy Eating Week, which started on Monday (June 3rd). Over 3,000 schools will take part in the project and kids will get the opportunity to learn about healthy eating, how to cook and where foods come from.

Roy Ballam, BNF education programme manager, stated: "Through Healthy Eating Week, we hope to start the process of re-engaging children with the origins of food, nutrition and cooking, so that they grow up with a fuller understanding of how food reaches them and what a healthy diet and lifestyle consists of."

Encouraging news

The findings of the BNF's survey were not all negative, as they indicated that a high number of kids have a good level of knowledge about healthy eating. 

When asked to identify the 'eatwell plate' - an image that shows different food types and the proportions they should be eaten in to maintain a healthy diet - nearly two thirds of five to eight-year-olds did so correctly. 

Furthermore, more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of primary school children and 88 per cent of secondary school pupils are aware that people should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

However, this knowledge is not always put into practice, as more than two-thirds of primary school kids and 81 per cent of secondary school children claimed they eat four or less portions daily.

A further 40 per cent of secondary school kids did not realise that frozen fruit and veg count towards the recommended five.

Knock-on effects

At first glance, the results of this survey might not seem too relevant to catering and kitchen equipment providers. However, if campaigns such as the BNF's Healthy Eating Week lead to a greater demand for children to be eating more nutritious meals, this could change the type of food that is served in restaurants, which may alter the catering equipment that is needed. 

Indeed, at the end of May, a new initiative was launched by Organic baby food company Organix and the Soil Association to encourage more venues to serve healthier meals for children.

'The Out to Lunch' campaign wants a wider range of more nutritious meals to feature on kids's menus.

Amy Leech of the Soil Association stated: "We want to see healthy, traceable food on the menu for children in restaurants, not just the usual suspects with chips."

Meanwhile, in the city of Salford plans have been mooted to ban businesses from selling fast food to youngsters before 5pm. ADNFCR-16001031-ID-801595119-ADNFCR

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