New children’s food league table

The Soil Association’s new ‘Out to Lunch’ league table has ranked children’s food at 28 popular chains and found many of them were serving children unhealthy and unsustainable meals.

JD Wetherspoon topped the league table, followed by Ikea and Harvester, with organic and sustainable ingredients and lots of veg on the menu. Children’s meals in the highest-scoring chains were on average £1 cheaper than meals in the lowest scoring chains, showing that price isn’t always a barrier to good food.

Supermarket cafés generally scored near the bottom of the table, with no British meat served at Tesco’s café, mouldy fruit at Morrisons’ café, and ASDA’s café declining to say whether they use free-range eggs.

Marks & Spencer’s café served no veg on the children’s menu.

Lowlights included the widespread use of single-use plastics, failure to disclose any nutritional information for children’s meals, and excessively sugary puddings.

The good news is that the Soil Association did persuade 13 chains to commit to serving two portions of veg with every child’s meal within the next 12 months.

In addition, 15 chains are serving organic ingredients – up from 4 chains when the ‘Out to Lunch’ campaign began in 2013.

The 15 are Brewer’s Fayre, Café Rouge, Frankie & Benny’s, Harvester, Ikea, Las Iguanas, Marks & Spencer café, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Prezzo, Sainsbury’s café, TGI Friday, Waitrose café, Wetherspoon, and Zizzi. 

The Soil Association is calling on all restaurant chains and supermarket cafés to take four simple steps:

  • Serve two portions of veg with every child’s meal.
  • Make water freely available and stop serving sugary drinks to children. 
  • Serve children’s portions of adult dishes (ensuring they are healthy and nutritionally balanced). 
  • Use quality ingredients such as free-range and organic

Free Issue

Sign up now to our email newsletter for a free digital copy of Ethical Consumer magazine.

Sign up now for our email newsletter