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’.

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8 November 2015 – The rise of the US ‘healthy’ fast food chain

In the US, the middle ground of ‘fast casual’ is expanding faster than any other segment of the market. The New Yorker (2 November) has an article – written by Michael Specter – on how ‘fast food’ culture is changing in some more affluent groups towards eating healthy, tasty food at ‘decent’ prices – this includes the wastED salad from the Sweetgreen chain which is made from carrot peels, broccoli stalks, roasted bread heels, cabbage cores and other ingredients that are usually thrown away.

As the terms ‘local’, ‘artisanal’, ‘sustainable’, ‘healthy’ and ‘organic’ are increasingly being used for their marketing potential by big brands – what does this actually mean? This is the link to the full article:

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/11/02/freedom-from-fries