Survey points to lack of food knowledge among schoolchildren

Fish fingers are made from chicken and pasta comes from animals are just some of the commonly held beliefs of UK schoolchildren, a recent survey has discovered.

According to the research by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), which interviewed 27,500 primary school children across the country, nearly a third (29%) think cheese comes from plants, while 18% think fish fingers come from chicken.

The survey was carried out as part of the BNF’s Healthy Eating Week. Roy Ballam, education programme manager with the foundation, said: “Schools throughout the UK require a national framework and guidance for food and nutrition education to support the learning needs of children and young people, especially at a time when levels of childhood obesity are soaring. 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.”  

The week is being supported by the British Poultry Council (BPC). Its chairman John Reed said: “The British Poultry Council is proud to work with the British Nutrition Foundation at a time when food and nutrition are becoming more and more important in the curriculum. Poultry has a crucial role to play in healthy diets and I’m delighted to contribute to this new approach in schools.”

Ballam added: “Through this survey one in five (21%) primary school children and 18% of secondary school pupils told us that they had never visited a farm. This may go part way to explaining why over a third (34%) of five- to eight-year-olds and 17% of eight- to 11-year-olds believe that pasta comes from animals.”