Featured vacancies:

Competitive salary
Sales Executive, Hybrid working
, Surrey
Packaging Technologist, FMCG
, Greater Manchester
, £40000
 - £45000
per annum
 + Package
Finance Business Partner, Food Distribution
, London
, £50000
 - £60000
per annum
 + Benefits
Technical Manager
, Lincolnshire
, £50000
 - £55000
per annum
 + Benefits
R&D Food Technician
, West Yorkshire
, £25000
 - £28000
per annum
Continuous Improvement Manager
, Nottinghamshire
, £50000
 - £60000
per annum
Study Shows Children Don't Know Food

Study Shows Children Don't Know Food

A survey about food has revealed that children know very little about where their meals actually come from.

A worrying percentage of children believe that fish fingers are made from chicken, amongst other odd misconceptions.

Healthy Eating Week Survey

The survey was carried out by the British Nutrition Foundation as part of their Healthy Eating Week. They found 5,040 children based in the UK to answer their questions, which were posed between 24 April and 12 May 2017.

child eating cheese and ham

The answers that the children gave were worrying, to say the least. Some thought that fish fingers were made of chicken, that tomatoes grew underground, and that cheese was a kind of plant. If you currently work in a chef job this may give you reason to despair!

The children were separated into groups to assess the knowledge across different ages, and some of the results show that strange beliefs such as these can continue into teenage years.

The youngest group, of 5 to 7 year-olds, had the most outlandish views. 29% of them believe that cheese comes from a plant, while 22% think that pasta is made out of animals. 18% thought that fish fingers were made from chicken, but 73% of them did know that cod or haddock are the more usual materials.

The next group was the 8 to 11 year-olds, up to the age of leaving primary school. 25% of these held the strange idea that cheese grows on plants, and 13% thought that pasta was made from animals. Thankfully, 92% of this group identified fish as the main ingredient in fish fingers, but 6% still thought that they were chicken.

For the 11 to 14 year-olds, 11% thought that tomatoes grew underground. The same percentage also thought that fruit pastilles counted as their five-a-day, and 27% also included strawberry jam. The figures are extremely similar for the 14 to 16 year-olds, suggesting that not much is done for teens to learn about food.

Steps for education

It’s clear that more needs to be done to educate children about where their food comes from. If they don’t understand what they are eating, how can they possibly be expected to make a healthy choice?

This is also something that needs to be addressed for the future health of food recruitment. If kids aren’t interested enough to find out what they are really eating, are they going to be interested in producing it when they grow up? Particularly where the older group of children surveyed are concerned, they will be at the age to start choosing their GCSEs, A-Levels, and future career topics.

Roy Ballam, BNF managing director and head of education, said: “Schools and families can and should successfully work together to, in turn, educate children and then motivate them in their endeavours to make healthier choices. Furthermore, the links between physical activity, health and diet should be frequently highlighted by the Government’s programmes.”

There is a little bit of a positive point: 31% of the 11-14s and 28% of the 14-16s said that they knew lots about healthy eating and tried to stay on track. Around half of both age ranges also say they know lots, but don’t always follow the rules.

This may go some way towards explain the current epidemic of child obesity, which is proving to be a strain on the NHS as well as a big political talking point. If children understood more about why they might be putting weight on, they might be better at avoiding that situation – as well as the dangerous eating disorders that can be triggered.

About this article

Read time


Latest news

Supply Chain jobs
Supply chain jobs come in all shapes and sizes. We recruit for roles within the Supply Chain function from junior management roles to board level positions. Are you an experienced supply chain specialist looking for an exciting and rewarding career in the food industry? The food industry is a sector with many exciting opportunities for...
sales and marketing jobs light bulbs
The food industry is a fast-paced, constantly evolving sector, which means that working in sales and marketing jobs in this field are incredibly rewarding. The challenging environment allows you to thrive and learn something new every day and the knowledge gained in this sector can be invaluable for your future career. If you’re looking for...
Food inflation below 10% - lady shopping
It’s an exciting time for food industry professionals in the UK The latest news from the British food sector is that there has been an increase in the number of food manufacturing jobs available in the last year. 2023 has been an especially big year for growth and innovation that will shape the future of...
Food finance jobs
Looking at food finance jobs are an excellent choice of career for anyone looking for a job that holds potential to grow and evolve. From major manufacturers to small-scale food producers, there’s a lot of exciting opportunities to explore. The food industry is booming, with sales in the UK reaching record highs in recent years....
Hotel Chocolat founders have agreed a takeover with Mars. Mars will take over the business and have agreed to keep production in the UK. The founders are set to make £280m after an agreed take over of £534m. After the deal was announce shares increased by 160%. Mars currently employs over 140,000 people around the...
Engineering jobs - workers working in a factory
Engineering jobs in the FMCG world are certainly a great option for those that like to fix broken things or think strategically on how they can improve on a process within a manufacturing environment. As an Engineer, within either the FMCG or food industry, you have a unique opportunity to make an impact on the...
Chef jobs are exciting Chef placing food on a plate
Chef jobs in food manufacturing are exciting opportunities! Are you currently looking for Chef Jobs and what opportunities are out there? Joining the food manufacturing industry could be the opportunity you have been waiting for! There is a vast array of Chef jobs you could be interested in. A great industry to move into the...
Food inflation below 10% - lady shopping
Food inflation has finally dropped under the 10% mark for the first time in over a year! This is good news for all Food Businesses and Consumers. This significant dip is a major milestone in the journey towards sustainable economic growth and food security for the UK. Every retailer included in the Kantar report saw...
interviewing for NPD and development jobs
Are you currently interviewing for NPD jobs or Food Development Jobs? Are you on the lookout for a job that challenges, excites and motivates you? There are so many reasons to consider being part of an NPD team. But the main recurring theme with anyone we speak to is that it isn’t just a job;...

Get in touch