Posted 6 July 2016
I hope my study will provide an up-to-date insight into where children believe their food comes from."
Final year student Naomi Lewis looked into where children believe their food comes from for her Honours Research Project (HRP).
The agri-business student said: “While reading through journals, trying to decide on a topic for my study, I saw a number of stats and comments about children’s perception of food. For example: some children didn’t think a fish finger was made from fish, but pork or chicken; and that kiwi fruits are from the middle of Birmingham.
“The statistic I found the most surprising, and so used in the title of my project was: ‘1 in 20 children believe that strawberries grow in the fridge – should we be concerned about children’s perception of food origin?’”
Naomi, 23, comes from a farming background and has lived in rural Shropshire all her life. “I found the idea of not knowing where your food comes from as really strange.
“I went into three schools, where I surveyed 150 children, between the ages of seven and 11, to see where they thought their food comes from. I found that 56 per cent of children knew that strawberries were grown on a bush, while many thought that they came straight from the supermarket, without any prior production.
“Only 20 per cent of the children surveyed recognised that ice cream has an animal origin.
“Just nine per cent of children knew that pasta was from a crop which is grown above ground, while 77 per cent thought it came straight from the supermarket.
“There have been previous studies into this area, such as the ones where I found the original stats, but these are now a couple of years old. I hope mine will provide an up-to-date insight into where children believe their food comes from.
“In addition, I surveyed nearly 90 parents. I asked them where they thought their child should learn about their food and where it comes from, and what they expect their child to be aware of. 61 per cent of the parents believed that it was their responsibility, and the school’s, to teach children about their food’s origins.
“Overall, I believe that there needs to be more focus on food production in the national curriculum, especially as there is an interest from the children and parents to see more.”
‘Making My Mark’ is a collection of articles looking at how Harper Adams University students are making a difference in our world. If you have a dissertation, or story, you wish to be included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org