REVEALED: BEST AND WORST KIDS' MENUS IN THE UK
The Soil Association has just published the results of its 2017 Out to Lunch survey
Jamie’s Italian and Wetherspoon’s have topped a chart for the UK’s healthiest kids’ meals, with Burger King and Prezzo named among the worst.
The Soil Association, which carried out the Out to Lunch survey, used criteria such as availability of fresh fruit and vegetables, and of child-friendly cutlery and activities, as well as the provenance of the food to create their league table.
The report revealed the least healthy family restaurants in the UK to be:
1. Burger King
3. TGI Friday’s
The most healthy are:
1. Jamie’s Italian
Burger King, which came bottom in the table of 25 chains, was blasted for its ‘long list of fizzy drinks and sugary puddings’ and because they failed to respond to the SA’s request for information on how they source and prepare their food.
Nando’s, Frankie and Benny’s, TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut were all criticised for allowing children to have ‘bottomless’ sugary drinks, with one reviewer noting, ‘The fizzy drinks were refillable, and the children had at least 3 glasses each, which is almost 100g of sugar! The daily recommended intake for adults is 30g/day and children should have less than this.’ As a result, both TGI Fridays and Pizza Hut have pledged to stop serving unlimited refills to kids.
Prezzo came second bottom in the survey. While it was praised for offering a two-tier kids’ menu to cater for different appetites, reviewers took issue with servers not offering free tap water, nor knowing the provenance of food on the menu (information which the chain also failed to provide when asked by the SA).
One kids’ menu pudding at a Hungry Horse restaurant was found to contain more than 400% of a child's recommended daily sugar allowance, while Harvester's Chocolate Cookie Pizza, a cookie topped with chocolate sauce, marshmallows, strawberries, butterscotch sauce and chocolate buttons, contains 721kcal - almost 50 per cent of a seven-year-old's total daily energy requirement.
Jamie’s Italian, on the other hand, scored 75 out of a possible 90 points, ranking first in the league. The SA praised its kids’ activities and the abundance of fresh vegetables on the menu - noting that one dish contains a child’s entire recommended five portions of fresh vegetables a day. One reviewer said: ‘This is somewhere I would continue to bring my children – very welcoming and friendly, with opportunities to try new foods. All children’s meals come with a salad portion and the tomato sauce is packed with veg. They also discourage sugary drinks not only for children but for adults.’
A Soil Association spokesperson said: ‘Despite continuing poor practice, the Out to Lunch league table shows that children’s food on the high street has undergone notable improvement since the campaign launched in 2013. There are now 13 chains now serve a portion of veg or salad with every meal (up from 6 chains in 2013) and 12 chains that include organic ingredients on the menu (up from 6 chains in 2015).’
The survey was carried out by a two-month analysis of the menus online, to which the restaurants were invited to respond. It was then followed up by sending a team of anonymous parent reviewers to each chain to measure portion sizes and sugar content, and to review how welcome and accommodating staff were towards families.
:: To see the full interactive league table on the Soil Association’s website, click here.