Children's Menus - treats doesn't have to mean trash...

Children's Menus - treats doesn't have to mean trash...


Standard Supplier 24th October 2013


Standard Supplier

Children's Menus - treats doesn't have to mean trash...

Susan Gregory, Nestlé Professional’s Head of Food, talks children’s menus and how ‘treat’ doesn’t have to mean trash…
Children’s menus have been thrust into the media spotlight in recent weeks.  First a report by Organix and the Soil Association[1] found that 8 out of Britain’s 21 leading restaurant chains do not include any vegetables in the majority of their children's meals, and only 11 out of the 21 could say whether the food was freshly cooked and where it came from.  Then we heard that Annabel Karmel, a leading child nutritionist, has been forced to remove the word ‘healthy’ from a kids menu she devised for retail giant BHS after complaints that it included burgers, ice cream and chips.[2]
With one in three British children now overweight by the time they leave primary school[3], one thing is clear,  it is time for the restaurant industry to start making some changes…
We could learn a thing or two from the continent.  In Italy, kids simply have smaller portions of adult meals.  End of.  No further discussion.  Even pizzas are child sized and it is not uncommon to hear a 4 year old order a pizza with black olives…!  The same applies to many restaurants in London’s SW17.  Tooting is home to some of the best curry houses in the capital, which are always packed with families where children have smaller portions of whatever their parents have ordered – there are no fried chicken nuggets or burgers in sight…
The challenges we are facing are huge.  With obesity running rife, we have to find healthier choices for children and give them a wider taste for fresh, healthy food from a young age.  Social etiquette needs to be addressed too - kids should be welcomed into restaurants but clearly on the basis that their parents don’t let them run riot.
The Soil Association’s ‘Out to Lunch’ campaign[4] is doing a good job in leading the way and is calling on all high street restaurants and pubs to offer young diners child sized portions of adult meals.   We have yet to see the long term results, but at the very least, this is a great start…‘Treat’ doesn’t have to mean trash and restaurants need to raise the bar and listen to parents who are saying they want fresh food, not ready meals, for their children.

[1] The Soil Association ‘Out to Lunch’ campaign, July 2013,

[2] The Times, 6th August 2013

[3] The Telegraph, 16th July 2013


In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.