Survey shows food confusion rife

Two-thirds of schoolchildren struggle to identify the origins of everyday foods, according to a survey commissioned by rural insurance firm Cornish Mutual.

More than 1100 youngsters from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, between the ages of six and eight, were questioned for the research.

Less than one in four knew that beefburgers are sourced from cows, with 29% saying beefburgers came from pigs.

Some youngsters also thought that eggs came from sheep, yoghurts were made using turkeys or ducks, ham came from the Co-op, bacon from horses, goats or peacocks and cheese originated from butterflies, rats or mice.

However, children’s overall level of recognition of vegetables was high, ranging from 98% for carrots and sweetcorn to a low of 44% for swede or turnip.

The survey has been published to coincide with new campaign called Dig Down South West aimed at encouraging children to grow their own produce.

The initiative is being launched with TV personality and gardening expert Charlie Dimmock.

Alan Goddard, managing director of Cornish Mutual, said: “Considering the south-west is at the heart of the UK’s rural economy, we are surprised by the findings of this survey.

“Given that we are surrounded by farming and the countryside, we would have expected children in the region to know more about the origins of their food.

“It’s really important that we reach children at this young age. Clearly they do have an understanding, however, there are some huge gaps in their knowledge and we hope that through Dig Down South West we can help to build on what they know and get them enthusiastic about local produce.”