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UK Attractions: What About The Food?

UK attractions: what about the food?

Last year, our Out to Lunch campaign investigated the food served to children and families at the UK’s most popular visitor attractions.

We asked: Are these attractions – zoos, theme parks, museums, botanic gardens – offering children and families the food and drink they deserve? Which popular attractions are taking parents for a ride by failing to meet their demand for freshly prepared, healthy and sustainable food? Which iconic venues are supporting British farmers by buying local? Which are failing to make the grade?

We published the results in an interactive online league table and have since been working with attractions to improve their food. And we’ve had some success! The Natural History Museum scored in last place in the league table. We criticised them for their lack of transparency over ingredient provenance, and for not making sustainable eating easy. The Museum has since launched new children’s and adult menus that are much improved:

  • All children’s meals now come with crudités and the option of a side salad – parents previously had to pay £1.50 extra for a side of veg.
  • The children’s pudding menu now offers ‘seasonal fruit salad’ instead of ‘brownie sundae’.
  • The children’s menu now includes more meat-free options, and these are no longer all cheese-based.
  • The adult menu also includes a more meat-free options, making up a greater percentage of the menu, including two pulse-based vegan options – all meat-free options were previously cheese-based. Meat-free options are also promoted by being more prominently positioned on the menu.
  • Information about ingredient provenance, welfare and sustainability is included on the menu. The Museum has committed to only serving sustainable fish and British meat. The menu also highlights that chickens and eggs are free-range.

We’ll be continuing to work with attractions throughout this year, and will be compiling a new league table in 2018.

This summer we’re also returning to the high street to compile another league table of popular restaurant chains. We’ll be adding new chains to the league table and new scoring criteria – we are going to be looking particularly closely at the portion sizes of children’s puddings.

We will be recruiting parents to act as secret diners in the first half of June – look out for a blog on the Soil Association website with details of how you can be involved!