UK kids 'think cows can lay eggs'

UK - The average eight year old might know how to email people and use internet search engines, yet millions of British kids don’t know which animals their food comes from, according to new research by Dairy Farmers of Britain. The findings reveal that thousands of today’s 8 year olds think that cows lay eggs.
calendar icon 1 March 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

At a time when the government is overhauling school dinners to encourage children to eat healthy meals, the latest findings suggest that changing school dinners may be only half the battle - there is also a need to educate children about the origin of their food. More than one in ten (11%) 8 year olds don’t know where pork chops come from, and many more have no idea where yoghurt (18%) or cheese comes (11%) from.

As part of their Grass is Greener Campaign, which looks to understand how British children connect with British farming and the countryside, Dairy Farmers of Britain asked a GB representative sample of over 1,000 eight to 15 year olds from which of a range of animals they thought milk, eggs, cheese, yoghurt, bacon, pork chops and beef burgers came from. The results show that, although knowledge of food production improves with the age, a significant proportion of children are failing to connect food to the farm animals which are used to produce them.

Key Findings

Country Children Closest to Food

Children who live in the countryside consistently out perform those who live in the city when it comes to understanding their food. City children are twice as likely as countryside kids to be unable to identify that beef burgers come from cows (8% compared to 3%), 10 percent not knowing where yoghurt comes from, compared to 6 percent of countryside kids. Furthermore, two percent of city kids think that eggs come from cows, and bacon is from cows or sheep.

Welsh Kids Most Clueless About Cheese

Despite, Wales’ fame for its cheese, Welsh children are the most likely to be clueless about cheese, one in ten (11%) eight to 15 year olds not knowing that cheese comes from cows or sheep, compared to just three percent of children in the East Midlands.

Children in the West Midlands are least likely to know where yoghurt comes from, one in six (14%) being unable to identify its animal origin, compared to six percent of Welsh kids.

Perhaps better news for the dairy industry is that all children know that cows produce milk.

Phil Gibson, Head of Corporate Affairs for Dairy Farmers of Britain, said: “The gap in children’s knowledge revealed by this research shows that a significant proportion of children, particularly those living in the city, are unaware of the process involved in making their food at the basic level of the animals they come from.

“With the government and health organisations encouraging healthy eating in schools, it is important that children are taught about the way food is produced as well as what it contains. We believe that educating children about the benefits of good honest locally produced food at a young age will give them a greater appreciation and awareness of healthy food later in life. Through our Grass is Greener campaign we will not only be revealing how children perceive their food and the countryside, but also taking measures to educate children in dairy farming.”

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