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Pre-school food survey

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Nicholas, Jo; Stevens, Lesley; Briggs, Laura and Wood, Lesley
Publication Date: 
31 Jan 2013


Voluntary food and drink guidelines for early years settings in England were introduced in September 2012 to support settings to provide ‘healthy, balanced and nutritious meals and snacks', as required by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework.

The survey was designed to provide information on the range of catering provision and practices in early years settings in England, to assess food consumption and wastage, and to assess the extent to which the provision of food and drink in early years settings met the national guidelines for food and nutrient provision.


The purpose of the pre-school food survey was to provide information on food and drink provision in early years settings in England; to examine the extent to which current provision meets the newly developed voluntary food and drink guidelines (a ‘baseline' measure, as the survey was completed before the revised EYFS was implemented); to understand which factors were associated with healthier provision and consumption; and to explore the relationships between food and drink provision and the promotion and adoption of healthy eating habits in young children. The survey was also intended to provide information on how food provision in early years settings prepared children for primary school, both in terms of the food itself and the approach to food provision (for example the social and educational benefits of children sitting and eating meals together).