St. Michael’s Catholic Grammar School, London, UK

International Competitor

Feed the Future

The problem:
Following a national lockdown ¼ children have some form of food deprivation and moreover 60% of children with low food insecurity did not report having free school meals. Every year in the UK over £42 billion worth of food is thrown away by grocery stores. Not because it’s inedible but because it’s past its sell by date. This carries negative externalities as it goes to landfill and it’s also inefficient allocation of resources. Given that it costs £3 to feed a child a day, this could feed over 39 million children for a whole year.

Our solution:
A government can intervene by issuing laws that regulate the process of reallocating food to children. They can enforce a law compelling supermarkets to transfer all the food destined for landfill to schools instead.
A quarter of children in the UK depend on schools for their main source of meals. Therefore our plan is to centre new programs in schools with clubs for breakfast and afternoons. In order to find new staff needed to run these clubs in schools, we would implement a food waste tax and redistribute the money. Introducing a food waste tax on households and supermarkets who waste food by weighing food waste would reduce the 7 million tonnes of food waste that comes from households in the UK every year. This also incentivises supermarkets to donate as it is essentially a tax break.

The government can emphasize donating food by funding a scheme that puts food banks outside supermarkets making it more convenient for people to donate food, ensuring that all children have access to it. Putting posters around supermarkets, and assemblies in lessons and schools will help spread awareness about donating food. Reward systems and vouchers can also be utilized to incentivize shoppers to donate.

We believe that with a supportive government, clear government, clear rules and regulations and efficient allocation of resources and strong community links, that no child will go hungry.

Their YES! topic

Brain food: How can a government best ensure that all children have enough to eat?

By Nuhar Bazeer + Nihar Shembavnekar – The Health Foundation, Alice Lassman + Naba Salman – McKinsey & Company

The Health Foundation led a two-year programme listening to young people, and to those who support young people, and examining the data. The findings make worrying reading for anyone concerned with the way our society, and our public services, will look in 30 years’ time.

The health of a country’s young people is one of the greatest assets it holds, determining its future wellbeing, costs and productivity. Young people’s wellbeing is critical to a healthy democracy, the economy, and shapes the nation’s social fabric. For governments across the world, the stewardship of young people’s wellbeing needs to be a priority – any erosion of the population’s health is a major risk to the prosperity of the nation.

92% per cent of parents support extension of free school meal eligibility to all children living in very low-income families, according to new research from Children’s Food Campaign and Food Active. Parents also agree that eligibility should be based on income, regardless of immigration status (89%).

The survey conducted with over 750 parents across the UK gained insights on how the Covid-19 lockdown has impacted their children’s food intake.

  • One in three (31%) reported it was harder to maintain healthy eating habits whilst children were at home
  • 7 in 10 parents reported that their children ate more snacks in lockdown
  • Children ate more crisps (35%), ice creams and lollies (46%), cakes and biscuits (40%), sweets and chocolate (30%).

When parents were asked their views on the Government’s commitment to fund free school meals and healthy food policies:

  • 9 in 10 parents (90%) agreed that the Government should review eligibility to make free school meals available to ALL children in poverty. Parents also agreed that eligibility should be based on income, regardless of immigration status (89%).
  • More than 8 in 10 parents (83%) would also like to see holiday food provision available for all children eligible for Free School Meals.

Is it the government’s role to provide food for children and young people? How can they best ensure that all have enough food to eat and contribute to a thriving economy?