Three in four parents support delicious and nutritious school meals for all

14 March 2024
The vast majority of parents want to see healthier school meals, fully funded for all children, the Children’s Food Campaign has found.

On International School Meals Day, our friends at the Children’s Food Campaign have found that parents across the country want to see improved and expanded free school meals. Almost eight in 10 parents want to see a phased expansion of free school meals to all children.

With our partners in the School Food Review, we have written our School Food Review Manifesto. The results of polling, which was carried out by Savanta, show widespread support for our asks:

  • 77% of parents agreed with us, that they want to see delicious and nutritious school meals provided for all children, no matter where they grow up, starting with an immediate extension to those living in poverty.
  • 89% of parents agreed with us, that compliance with the school food standards should be properly monitored to make sure all children are getting the nutrition they need to thrive.

Most parents think their children’s school meals are nutritious, although secondary school parents were less confident about this than their primary school counterparts. A significant majority of parents support schools:

  • Replacing sugary desserts with fruit and healthy yoghurts
  • Only serving water and milk
  • Implementing healthy packed lunch policies
  • Serving foods that are better for nature and the environment

All of which are staples of our Healthy Zones programme, which works across four London boroughs, supporting schools to create a food environment that puts young people's health centre stage.

81% of parents believe eligible children should be automatically enrolled for free school meals. Currently, paperwork means thousands miss out from the support their entitled to. We have today joined over 130 others in writing to the school minister and called for an automatic enrolment system to be introduced.

The Great British public has consistently shown its support for investing in school meals for all pupils. Yet again, the vast majority has backed expanding school meals to all children, wherever they grow up. It’s time our political leaders listened to their voters, young people, and experts, and worked to introduce brilliant school food for all.