Family restaurants are still putting children’s health in second place to profits by stuffing their menus with junk food, according to a new report by the Soil Association.
The association scored 10 popular family restaurants out of 30 points based on food nutrition, sourcing, provision, food policy and information available.
Top of the list, which was put together by a food nutritionist using the Government’s new minimum standards for school meals as a benchmark, was TGI Friday’s.
However, the Soil Association said its pole position placing with 16 points simply illustrated the “pitiful meal options in other restaurants”.
Peter Melchett, Soil Association policy director, said: “Sadly, our survey of children’s food in restaurants reveals that all the major providers of children’s meals are simply continuing their unhealthy business of serving up junk food to children.”
Chicken chain Nando’s, which was seventh in the list with a score of 10, was accused of having the equivalent of eight teaspoons of added sugar on average in its meals – close to a primary school-age child’s recommended daily maximum.
New restaurant chain Leon was picked out by the report authors as an example of low-cost, healthy and nutritious meals for children, as was Rainforest Café in London.
Restaurant ranking (out of 30)
1) TGI Friday’s, 16 points
2) Harvester, 15 points
2) Beefeater, 15 points
3) Pizza Hut, 14 points
4) Brewers Fayre, 13 points
5) Garfunkels, 12 points
5) Hungry Horse, 12 points
6) Little Chef, 11 points
7) Nando’s, 7 points
8) Café Rouge, 8 points
By Chris Druce
E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.