Out to Lunch

Millions of families visit the UK’s iconic visitor attractions during the school holidays, but only 14% of parents think that children’s food at popular attractions is good enough! “Visitor attractions are making life hard for parents who want to enjoy a healthy and happy day out,” said Rob Percival, Soil Association Policy Officer. Over the past few months the Association has worked with parents, to uncover unhealthy pre-packed lunchboxes, dodgy ingredients, and a lack of transparency about food sourcing practices in the UK’s most popular museums, art galleries, zoos, visitor centres, and theme parks, as well as some good food at reasonable prices. Veg or salad options weren’t included in 75% of children’s lunchboxes. Meanwhile 50% of attractions offered lunchboxes including muffins, cakes and sweet treats, but no fresh fruit. These findings come weeks after the Government announced new plans to tackle childhood obesity. Whilst children’s lunchboxes were lacking in healthy options they were often overloaded with sugar, with one at London Zoo packing up to 36g of sugar, about 189% of a child’s daily sugar allowance! Monosodium glutamate (MSG) and meals that included E-numbers linked to negative effects on children’s behaviours featured prominently in others. The British Museum, one of the most popular attractions, declined to confirm whether it uses any British produce or local ingredients. Only a minority declared that they used British ingredients throughout their menus. The Natural History Museum and Brighton Pier scored in joint last place in the league table, whilst the Eden Project scored first place. The full league table is available on,