4 February 2016 -new FRC report: School Neighbourhoods and Young People’s Food Choices

There is a new paper on the Food Research Collaboration website – Within Arm’s Reach: School Neighbourhoods and Young People’s Food Choices, written by Jan Moorhouse, Ariadne Kapetanaki and Wendy Wills.

You can download the paper here

The website has the following summary:

‘What factors underpin young people’s food and drink purchases in the vicinity of schools, on the way to and from school, and during the school day? There has been much written about school meals and their impact on children’s health but in this briefing paper we focus on the factors that inform food and drink purchasing by young people in the vicinity of school. This paper presents the state of knowledge concerning the school neighbourhood food and drink environment and its potential impact on young people’s food and drink choices.

In recent years much has been done to improve school meals and the limited availability of some popular but less healthy foods in secondary schools may have resulted in unintended consequences. Many young people are turning to fast food outlets, supermarkets and convenience stores outside school to buy their lunch, which can represent 23% of their daily food intake. Peer pressure coupled with perceptions that eating healthily isn’t ‘cool’ may also be contributory factors.

The researchers involved in this study argue that food outlets could offer ‘supersize’ promotions for healthy foods and not just for items such as crisps and sugary drinks to help drive down obesity. School cafeterias should provide a better dining experience – a crucial factor in improving young people’s food purchasing habits. Their need to be with friends is of vital importance and cafeterias need to do more to be seen as an acceptable social space, whilst promoting ‘tasty’ rather than ‘healthy’ food’.


30 December 2015 -what could be important for food and agriculture in 2016

Food Tank has just published a list of 16 stories they predict will be  food and agriculture trends in 2016. These include:

  • the UN FAO’s Liberation project which promotes ecological intensification – increasing yields through ecosystem services, rather than external inputs – as a critical way of achieving more food security with less environmental damage; and
  • the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition’s work on food sustainability, including it’s youth manifesto which aims to get young people involved

Recognition of the key role of women farmers, of food workers’ fights for fair pay and labour rights, and of the role of sustainable diets are also flagged up.

You can read the full list and find more details here


3 April 2015 – McDonald’s, labour activism and US franchising

Workers in US fast food companies have become active about low pay and lack of benefits despite many being long-term employees of big companies like McDonald’s. Back in September last year, the New Yorker was reporting on how workers were getting unionized and protesting about their poor pay and conditions (see this blog 19 September 2014).

A recent article by Kate Rogers describes how this might change the face of US franchising and what corporations are responsible for at individual chain locations as the case between the unions and McDonald’s is litigated in front of the National Labor Relations Board on whether McDonald’s is considered a joint employer with its individual franchisees. If this is the outcome, McDonald’s could be held jointly responsible for working conditions, pay and worker’s rights violations at individual franchised locations. Likewise, if the ruling makes McDonald’s jointly responsible, individual franchises become more beholden to corporate regulation which also changes the business franchise model.

You can read the full article here