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.

That’s why Soil Association’s Food For Life initiative has launched State of the Nation, a new report into children’s food in England.

The report looks at how children have eaten in 2018, with five recommendations for Government action to improve children’s food in 2019 and beyond.

Key findings from the report:

The State of the Nation report looks at how children have eaten in 2018. It probes the political and social forces shaping their diets, and it makes recommendations for government action to improve children’s food.

Where has progress been made?

  • The government has committed to halving rates of childhood obesity by 2030
  • More than 10,000 schools are serving healthy and sustainable school meals through Food for Life
  • Restaurant chains and visitor attractions have begun to serve better children’s meals

What still needs work?

  • More emphasis should be placed on supporting children to enjoy a diet of fresh and minimally processed foods
  • School meals should be a political priority – caterers are working hard but are being pushed to the brink
  • Restaurants and food businesses should be doing more to get veg on the plate

5 recommendations for Government to action

1. Fix the School Fruit and Veg Scheme

2. Invest in food in the early years

3. Safeguard the quality of school meals

4. Put veg on children’s plates

5. Make Brexit work for veg

Read the Report

£ 40 million is spent each year on the School Fruit and Veg Scheme - teachers say:

“Pears are under-ripe and hard, carrots have been sweating in bags for days – the quality is awful.”

“Generally, the produce is not as fresh as we would hope, and this means the children don’t eat it.”

“What a missed opportunity”

Parents: get involved and improve children's food

Are you frustrated and disappointed with the food and food culture in your child’s school or early years setting? Our Food For Life programme works with thousands of schools and nurseries to put healthy and sustainable food on the plate.

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