Eating vegetables or fruit as a child is objectively shit. No matter how artisanal the Sicilian clementine, no matter how much cheese sauce disguises the cauliflower; it’s all gross and disgusting and not nearly as delicious as Pringles or a tube of Smarties. Exceptions to the rule are chips or, at a push, peas—but they must be next to many chips and also a fish finger or sausages.
However, despite their objective grossness, kids gotta eat veg. The problem is that many family households in Britain can’t afford to provide them with it. In 2004, the UK Government introduced a scheme that aimed to tackle this problem by providing free fruit and vegetables to four- to six-year-olds in state primary schools. However according to a new report from the Soil Association, these efforts may be failing, as the scheme offers bad quality produce, including underripe pears and carrots that have been left to sweat in bags for days. Ew.
Published today by the Soil Association, the report states that Government-provided fruit and vegetables are often imported, high in pesticide residue, and “frequently inedible.” As the Guardian reports, the organisation also claims that because of this, the £400 million scheme is failing in its objective to get more children eating fruit and vegetables. Taxpayers’ money, the report continues, isn’t being put to good use and large amounts of food are wasted.
The Soil Association also claims that fewer than one in ten children meet the five-a-day consumption target for fruit and vegetables. On top of that, more than one-third of the vegetables children consume are “processed,” and 17 percent come from pizza or baked beans.
These findings are also particularly damning when taking into account the fact that the UK has the highest rate of obesity in Western Europe, with levels growing faster here than in the US.
To combat this, the Soil Association—a charity that advocates the benefits of organic food—suggests that the Government scheme commits to providing organic, British fruit and vegetables for kids. It also suggests other ways to combat the limited fruit and veg intake of children, such as improving the quality of schools dinners and encouraging restaurants to include more vegetables in their kids’ meal options.
All hail the mighty (British) (edible) (organic) carrot!