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UK proposal show value of what kiwi kids do

25 January, 2008

Media briefing by Wattie’s

Proposed UK School Food programme reinforces value of what Kiwi kids do

Wattie’s agrees that cooking skills are a route to healthy eating and applauds the UK Government’s announcement making cooking lessons compulsory for 11-14 year olds.

This reinforces the importance of what’s is already done in New Zealand schools - the Health & PE curriculum states all children will be given the opportunity to learn practical cooking skills by the end of Year 8, around age 11-12.

Wattie’s is proud to be associated with cooking in New Zealand schools through Project Cook, and agrees with the sentiment, how can kids eating healthily if they can't cook?

Our experience is that kids like to be involved in development of such programmes, and the key to success is kid-relevant recipes and information.

Wattie’s says it got involved in the cooking curriculum in New Zealand schools after its 2004 research showed poor cooking skills among many young people. Our 9-12 year olds were more likely to be able to txt than undertake simple cooking activities.

Following these findings Wattie’s launched Project Cook in 2005, a free school resource including recipes and basic cooking and nutrition information, to fit within the school curriculum. In December last year new recipes and a food safety DVD were sent to over 1500 schools ready for the 2008 school year, - and the resource continues to be well-used by teachers.

Project Cook gets kids into cooking in a fun and interactive way that involves both classroom and home-based activities, teaching them a valuable lifelong skill, and making them think about healthier eating.

The Wattie’s research showed:

* There are only two cooking activities that kids regularly do on their own – cooking toast and making a sandwich.

* The kids surveyed were more confident installing software on a computer, playing a DVD or sending a text message than cooking a meal from a recipe.

* 99 percent of their parents surveyed said a combination of school and home-based cooking and nutrition education was ideal.

* 94 percent of 9-12 year olds surveyed were in favour of learning about cooking and how to eat more healthily.

Research reference: Can our kids only text for takeout? Research undertaken by Colmar Brunton on behalf of Wattie’s in May 2004. Sample of 294 parents and 439 children (aged 8-14, from which 105 children aged 9-12 were asked further questions).


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