Nine out of 10 academies are selling pupils junk food such as crisps, chocolate and cereal bars that are banned in maintained schools to protect children’s health, research has revealed.
The findings from a study by the School Food Trust (SFT) contradict the education secretary Michael Gove’s claim that the academies he champions are following the high nutritional standards introduced in 2008-09 after the chef Jamie Oliver exposed how unhealthy many school lunches were.
The research shows 89 out of 100 academies were selling at least one of the snack foods high in sugar, salt or fat that were outlawed by Labour to rid schools of products that were bad for children and damaging their concentration. Their sale in dining halls, tuckshops and vending machines is exposing children to temptations that will normalise consumption of sweet treats, campaigners warned.
The academies that sell the junk food are making between £3,000 and £15,000 a year from catering for their pupils having a sweet tooth, according to the SFT.
Of the 100 academies 31 were selling one type of banned fattening food, 33 were selling two and 15 were selling three. A total of 82 academies sold sweetened fruit juices, which often contain only a small amount of actual fruit juice and would therefore be banned in maintained schools; the national school food standards stipulate such products must contain at least 50% fruit juice before they can be offered.
Similarly, 54 sold cereal bars, which usually comprise 20%-40% sugar, 26 sold crisps and savoury snacks and 16 sold confectionery and chocolate. However, just six sold fizzy drinks such as Coca-Cola and Sprite and just two offered energy drinks such as Lucozade and Red Bull.