News / Children's Food Campaign

Parents! Share your views on children and food during Covid-19

Children's Food Campaign and Food Active have launched a new survey with parents to find out how being in lockdown during Covid-19 has affected children's eating habits, preferences and interest in food. 

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

The Coronavirus emergency has thrown up all sorts of new challenges for feeding our children whilst in lockdown.

Children's Food Campaign, in partnership with Food Active, has launched a new Parents' Jury survey on Children's Food Preferences and Intake during Covid-19 to find out how children's eating habits and preferences have changed over recent months.

Recent research by the Obesity Health Alliance confirmed that for adults, many have increased the amount of home cooking and the amount of fruit and veg they are eating. However it also showed many adults have been eating more takeaways, savoury snacks, biscuits, cakes and sweets. 

So what about our children? That's what Children's Food Campaign and Food Active are now setting out to understand by asking parents themselves.

Our 10 minute survey gives parents and carers an opportunity to share:

  • what their children have been eating more or less of, from fruit and veg, to takeaways or home cooking, snacks and biscuits, water or sugary drinks.
  • any notable changes in their children's attitudes to food and cooking.
  • what has been easiest and most difficult in terms of keeping children eating a balanced, healthy and nutritious diet.
  • any new junk food marketing and advertising tactics they've spotted, given the increase in TV and online viewing by many children.

Any parent or carer of children under the age of 18 is welcome to take part in the Parents' Jury survey. It only takes around 10 minutes and will remain open until Friday 17 JulyJust click this link to get started


Parents' views on the future for school meals 

On 16 June, following a huge public campaign including the Premier League footballer Marcus Rashford, the Government announced a £120 million Covid Summer Food Fund for 1.3 million children eligible for free school meals in England, and this is now replicated for both Scotland and Northern IrelandWales had already committed to a £33 million summer holiday provision of £19.50 per child per week until end of August. However, during lockdown, many more households are experiencing financial dififculties and food insecurity.  The Food Foundation has revealed that an estimated 200,000 children have had to skip meals because their family could not access food. In England,  Universal Infant Free School Meals were withdrawn for any children being homeschooled, whilst the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme has been suspended for the rest of the 2019-20 academic year. The survey therefore also asks parents their views on what should happen in relation to free school meals when schools eventually reopen to all pupils for the new academic year. Should Free School Meals be extended to more children? What about future school holidays? 

Beyond Free School Meals, we also ask parents for views and ideas on what will make a healthier school food environment for their children, and what action they'd like to see schools, local authorities and the Government take.


A healthier food environment for children. What do parents want the Government to prioritise?

The current crisis means that work to implement the Government Childhood Obesity Plans have also stalled. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has launched a new review into what needs to happen to reduce prevalence of obesity. Meanwhile, as Children's Food Campaign has documented, food companies have used all sorts of creative marketing tactics to get junk food products and brands in front of families during lockdown. Our survey also asks parents which issues that are already in the Childhood Obesity Plan they would now like to see Government prioritise for action, from a 9pm watershed on advertising, , to removal of cartoon characters from unhealthy food packaging, or local authority management of planning permissions for takeaways. 


For more information:

Take part in the Parents' Jury survey on Children's Food Preferences and Intake during Covid19. It is open for responses until Friday 17 July.

Find out about being a full member of the Parents' Jury, where you can take part in future surveys, and receive reports on findings.


If your organisation would like to support and promote the Parents' Jury survey to your own members or supporters, get in touch with We can offer a link to preview the full survey, provide a unique URL for you to share, plus a report of the findings from your own survey respondents.


Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

Latest related news

Support our campaign

Your donation will help us champion children’s rights, parent power and government action to improve the food environment children grow up in.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2021
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies