ASDC welcomes the results of The 2018 Soil Association's 'Out to Lunch' campaign, and looks forward to seeing how we can improve nationally across 2019.
Across 2018, The Soil Association has worked with an army of secret-diner families to rank children’s food in 22 of the UK’s most popular visitor attractions, some of which are our Science and Discovery Centre members.
The visitor attractions have been rated on their food offerings across a variety of measures including availability of free drinking water, is the food fresh, traceable, sustainable and ethically sourced, environmental considerations and does it make healthy eating easier. This year there have been some hugely positive changes within our membership's cafes, and of course there is still room for improvement.
The top ranking Centre is the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh, closely followed by the Eden Project in second place and the following positive comments were made about the Science Museum and Natural History Museum.
The Science Museum, a new entrant this year, has opened the first fully vegetarian café at a major UK attraction, catering to popular demand for healthier, more sustainable and more climate-friendly choices.
The Natural History Museum has climbed 9 places since 2016 having introduced a portion of veg with every child’s meal and made information about ingredient provenance and animal welfare available on the menu.
Given the recent IPCC report on climate and other scientific reports on plastics and childhood obesity, ASDC fully supports the Soil Associations Out to Lunch programme which aims to raise the transformation of food on offer at UK visitor attractions.
ASDC are supporting this programme and asking our science-based visitor attractions to take five simple steps to reduce the carbon impact and improve the food they offer to children and families:
Ensure that all children’s lunchboxes and main meals include a least one portion of veg
Make free fresh drinking water available to families throughout their visit
Ditch unimaginative ultra-processed foods and focus more on fresh ingredients
Protect parents from an over-abundance of sweet treats, which make it harder to enjoy a healthy and happy day out
Use more local and seasonal foods, and offer more appetizing vegetarian options
(note, these are adaptations of the Soil Association call, please see their website for their list)
Image above: Out to Lunch: Copyright Soil Association