Schoolchildren think cheese grows on plants, survey shows

Primary schoolchildren think cheese grows on plants and fish fingers are made from chicken, research shows.

Almost one-third of primary schoolchildren believe cheese comes from plants and nearly one in five schoolchildren believe fish fingers are made from chicken, according to the survey by the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF).

One in 10 secondary schoolchildren also think tomatoes grow under the ground while one-third of five- to eight-year-olds thought pasta and bread were made from meat, the survey of 27,500 schoolchildren across the UK found.

Roy Ballam, BNF education programme manager, said: “Through this survey, one in five (21%) of primary schoolchildren and 18% of secondary school pupils told us that they have never visited a farm.

“This may go part way to explaining why over a third (34%) of five- to eight-year-olds and 17% of eight- to 11-year-olds believe that pasta comes from animals.”

The BNF survey also found that over three-quarters (77%) of primary schoolchildren and nearly nine out of every 10 (88%) secondary school pupils know that people should consume five or more portions of fruit and vegetables each day.

However, 67% of primary schoolchildren and 81% of secondary school pupils reported eating four or less portions of fruit and vegetables daily.

While two in every five children at secondary school don’t think that frozen fruit and vegetables count towards their five a day.

The survey, the largest of its kind, was conducted as part of the BNF’s Healthy Eating Week, launched on Monday (3 June) by The Princess Royal. More than 3,000 schools are participating in the week during which over 1.2 million children will be learning valuable lessons about healthy eating, cooking and where foods come from.

“Through Healthy Eating Week, we hope to start the process of re-engaging children with the origins of food, nutrition and cooking, so that they grow up with a fuller understanding of how food reaches them and what a healthy diet and lifestyle consists of,” explained Mr Ballam.

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