Regional differences: What have you got in your lunchbox?

By Annie-Rose Harrison-Dunn

- Last updated on GMT

Dutch parents are least likely to put chips in their children's lunchboxes, according to a consumer survey
Dutch parents are least likely to put chips in their children's lunchboxes, according to a consumer survey

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Across most countries, sandwiches and fruit are popular in children's lunchboxes while the inclusion of chips, yoghurt and cheese snacks varies considerably across regions, according to a consumer report by the Irish Food Board.

The survey, which originally focused on Irish consumer habits but now looks at ten different markets, found that children in the US and UK are the most likely to have chips (crisps) in their lunchboxes.

Lunchbox habits

Over half (55%) of the American parents surveyed said that their child’s lunchbox normally contains chips, followed by 46% of British parents.

This is in clear contrast with the 1% reported in the Netherlands and 2% in Germany. Ireland also stood particularly low in this ranking – with only 5% of parents saying they put chips in their children's lunchboxes.

Paula Donoghue, insight and brand manager at the Irish Food Board (Bord Bia), told that in the case of Ireland this could be due to a difference in school lunch policy. In Ireland schools take a much more active role in the policing of lunchbox contents, she explained, although this is not officially implemented on a national level.

Obesity concerns

The report also found that the Spanish have considerably high concerns about their children becoming obese in comparison to the other countries included. 42% of parents in Spain said they “agreed strongly”​ with the statement “I am concerned about my children becoming obese”​ and 36% said they “agreed slightly”​, amounting to a total of 78% showing some concern. 

The Dutch, British and Irish expressed the least anxiety when combing these responses of strong and slight concern, totalling 28%, 31% and 31%, respectively.

Interestingly the Spanish were also found to be the most likely to consider health food to be boring, with 69% agreeing to some extent with the statement that "choosing healthy food to eat is limiting and boring"​. This appeared to resonate less so in Great Britain (43%), Germany (45%), Netherlands (45%), Sweden (46%) and Belgium (46%).

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