Children's food in England: what's the state of the nation?

It should be normal, easy and enjoyable for all children to eat well.

Children’s food should be a political priority. But the government is yet to step up to the plate.

That’s why, for the second year running, Soil Association’s Food for Life programme has launched State of the Nation, an in-depth investigation into children’s food in England.

Key findings from the report:

Has 2019 been a good year for children's food?

Where has progress been made?

  • The Youth Climate Strike movement and Children's Future Food Inquiry saw children speaking out on food, health and the climate

  • Thousands of schools are serving healthy and sustainable school meals through Food for Life Served Here

  • In response to our Out to Lunch campaign, 13 restaurant chains committed to serving two portions of veg with every child's meal by June 2020

What still needs work?

  • 19% of children in the UK are experiencing food insecurity

  • A growing number of schools are failing to comply with school food standards

  • Children are still drinking too many soft drinks, including artificially sweetened drinks

5 ways Government can act now:

1. Support schools to serve ‘less and better’ meat

2. Set an ambitious target for organic in public procurement, including in schools

3. Ensure compliance with School Food Standards

4. Ensure school meals are adequately funded

5. Extend the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (sugar tax) to artificial sweeteners

Read the Report

60 % of secondary schools are failing to comply with the School Food Standards

Food for Life shows what's possible

Children’s food in England isn’t good enough, but The Soil Association’s Food for Life programme shows that it is possible to make it normal, easy and enjoyable for children to eat well.

Food for Life works with thousands of schools and nurseries to put healthy and sustainable food on the plate. 

Food for Life understands the importance of reconnecting children with where food comes from, making it more likely they’ll have a happy and healthy relationship with food.

"The programme is about serving the best food possible on very tight budgets, but it’s also about educating students about where their food comes from, how to grow, how to cook and how to make the school lunch a social occasion."

- Jeanette Orrey MBE, co-founder of Food for Life




Our thanks to English Tea Shop, who are pleased to sponsor this report.