Thousands of children to receive free cooking courses this summer

30 Jul 2014

Thousands of mums and dads will have their lives made easier this summer thanks to a brand new series of special Farm to Fork Cooking courses for children.

  • Mums and dads will have life made a little bit easier this summer thanks to new cooking courses for 4,500 children across the UK.
  • The fun courses will help tackle fundamental gaps in children’s kitchen knowledge.
  • The courses have been launched at the same time as research that finds over two thirds of parents worry that children are growing up without basic cooking skills and 75 per cent of children have never boiled an egg.

Thousands of mums and dads will have their lives made easier this summer thanks to a brand new series of special Farm to Fork Cooking courses for children.

The courses will be run jointly with The Children’s Food Trust and will take place in 50 Tesco stores right across the country every week throughout August. An estimated 4,500 children aged between 5 and 13 will take part.

As well as providing something educational, fun and free for children to do in the summer holidays, the courses will help tackle fundamental gaps in children’s knowledge about cooking tasty meals and snacks.

Children taking part in a cooking course

According to research commissioned by Tesco published today, despite the popularity of TV cooking programmes over two thirds (nearly 67 per cent) of mums and dads worry that children today are growing up without basic cooking skills and food knowledge.

And over half (52 per cent) admit they spend significantly less time cooking for their children than their own parents did, despite the fact that more than half of mums and dads (just over 51 per cent) are worried about the long term impact of diet on their children’s health. More than nine out of ten (93 per cent) secondary school teachers are also shocked by the minimal knowledge about food their pupils have.

The research also found that that fewer than half (47.9 per cent) of schoolchildren have turned their hand to basics like chopping food with a knife, three quarters (75 per cent) have never boiled an egg and seven out of ten (71 per cent) have never cooked pasta.

The Farm to Fork Cooking courses, part of The Tesco Eat Happy Project, will help give children the skills in the kitchen to cook a variety of healthy, nutritious meals from couscous salad to mango chicken pittas and tasty tomato pasta.

Chris Bush, UK Managing Director for Tesco said:

“School’s now finished for the summer, and I know mums and dads around the UK will appreciate having something fun and free to keep kids entertained during the holidays. I know these courses will be great fun, kids love learning about food, but they will also help children learn more about their food – where it comes from, how to prepare it, and of course how to cook it.

“We’ve taken over a quarter of a million children to Tesco stores, farms and factories as part of The Eat Happy Project to help children understand more about where their food comes from, and the natural next step is helping children find out about different ingredients and how to cook with them.

“We hope these courses will make a real difference in helping the next generation lead healthier lives.”

Linda Cregan, CEO of the Children’s Food Trust said:

“An important part of The Eat Happy Project is learning how and what to cook for a healthy balanced diet, a crucial life skill. Helping children grow confidence in the kitchen and learn more about healthy eating is a something we’ve been doing for seven years through our national network of 5000 school and community based cooking clubs.

“Our partnership with Tesco allows us to reach even more children and their families. Our team is going to be cooking with youngsters in 50 different stores across the country throughout the summer and from our experience we know how hands on cooking sessions encourage children and their families to try new food and eat more healthily making a real difference to their lives."
Child learning skills in a class
Tesco’s Eat Happy Project is part of a much wider ambition to help children live healthier lives. Billions of calories have been removed from Tesco food ranges, and Tesco will be the first major retailer to remove sweets and chocolate from checkouts across all stores by January 2015.

As part of The Eat Happy Project, children can also take part in Online Field Trips, which allow classes of primary school children to talk to food producers and suppliers around the world from their own classrooms.

Notes to editors

  • More information about the Eat Happy Project can be found at:
  • Backed by Diabetes UK, the Children’s Food Trust and the NFU amongst others, The Tesco Eat Happy Project is a major new food education programme that is committed to improving children’s relationship with food.
  • Farm to Fork is the first initiative and is all about helping children learn where their food comes from .
  • As part of Farm to Fork, specially trained colleagues in more than 700 Tesco stores across the UK teaching children about different foods and giving practical demonstrations, for example baking bread, tasting new fruits and vegetables and learning all about fish.
  • Food suppliers across the country are opening their farms and factories to teach children where their food comes from including how milk is produced, where eggs come from and how lettuce grows.
  • There is a dedicated Eat Happy Project Resource Hub on the website with lesson plans, recipes and “how to” videos for children, parents and teachers.
  • The launch of Eat Happy Online Field Trips saw Tesco become the first company in the UK to offer educational live interactive field trips direct from the classroom for primary schools to talk to food producers around the world.

About the research

  • The research was carried out by the Future Foundation, who carried out extensive qualitative and quantitative research to look in depth at parents’, children’s and teachers’ attitudes and behaviour towards food, cooking and health.
  • 7,500 children aged 7 – 14 were interviewed via five ten minute online surveys; each designed to be fun and engaging for children to complete.
  • A 20 minute online survey was run amongst a sample of 2,000 nationally representative adults and 2,000 parents of 7 – 14 year olds.  Attitudes and behaviours around food, health, nutrition etc of those with and without children were compared.
  • 100 food technology and cookery teachers were interviewed via a 10 minute online survey. Sample was split across primary and secondary school teachers of those aged 5 – 14.

About The Children’s Food Trust

  • The Children’s Food Trust exists to protect every child’s right to eat better and, so, to do better. We focus on ensuring a balanced diet for children’s early years and schooldays together with better family cooking skills, lifestyle and food education.
  • The Trust’s early years programme ‘Eat Better, Start Better’, and its cooking programme, Let’s Get Cooking, are endorsed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH).
  • Good food is important for:
    • Children’s health. Everyone involved with providing food for children can support good nutrition. Research for Let’s Get Cooking shows that more than half of people taking part in our school-based cooking clubs eat a healthier diet as a result of learning to cook
    • Children’s performance. Research in schools shows that when children eat a healthy lunch in a good environment, they are more focused in their afternoon lessons
    • Children’s education. Learning about making balanced food choices and how to cook healthy food are skills that children can take into adulthood
    • Children’s welfare. More than 1 million children from low-income families are eligible for free school meals, which ensure they can eat a healthy meal during the school day. Learning to cook can help families on low incomes make food budgets go much further

For more information please contact the Tesco Press Office on
01992 644645

We are a team of over 500,000 people in 12 markets dedicated to providing the most compelling offer to our customers.