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98% of packed lunches fail to meet food standards

Submission of the month

98% of packed lunches fail to meet food standards

It has been widely reported today, Tuesday 14 Jan, that only 1 in 62 packed lunches meet food standards. Experts from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, found that children are still being sent to school with sugary drinks, crisps and chocolate bars. 

The study found that packed lunches are nutritionally worse that those offered by schools, even though sugar in packed lunches have declined. 

The study concluded "Packed lunches remain low quality with few meeting standards set for school meals. Although some children's packed lunches contain healthy foods, packed lunches continue to be dominated by sweet and savoury snack foods and sugary drinks. A minority of children eat vegetables or salad and this hasn't changed in the past 10 years."

Rob Percival, Head of food and health policy at the Soil Association, said “The School Meal Standards have been designed to ensure children enjoy a diverse and balanced diet across the week. It’s very difficult for parents to replicate this in a packed lunch. The Government should be encouraging schools to adopt a ‘whole school approach’ to healthy eating, where lunchtime becomes a positive focus for the school day, pupils are encouraged to enjoy a hot and healthy school meal, and guidance is offered to parents providing a packed lunch.”

Find out more about Food for Life's work with schools.