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Survey: 43% parents sent junk food in snack box, 88% unaware of nutritional value of foods

March 6, 2024

Even amid strict instructions from several private schools banning junk food and chocolates in snack boxes, 43% of parents surveyed said that they sent packaged foods such as wafers and biscuits in their snack box.

A survey conducted by the Early childhood association and the Association for Preparatory Education and Research found that a mere 35% sent home-cooked meals in snack boxes.

As high as 88% of parents who were interviewed confessed that they were unaware of the nutritional value of the branded food items that they purchased or that from restaurants.

The three-month long survey, where over 10,000 parents across Delhi, Maharashtra, Kolkata, Karnataka, and Gujarat were interviewed found a lack of awareness among parents on the dietary needs of children and a dependency on packaged or outside food.

The survey was conducted through interviews and the purpose was to find out parent’s ideas about diet for their children and awareness about ‘hidden’ junk in their Childrens’ diet according to surveyors.

When asked, 72% of parents agreed that children consumed junk food while 38% parents said that their children consumed junk food more than five times a week. Half the parents interviewed said that their children ate unhealthy food between 1-5 days a week.

Even though it is dismissed as common knowledge, one half of the parents said that they had not provided children with fruits and vegetables in the proportion that they had to be served.

A mere 23% of children consumed fruit every day and 36% of parents believed that packaged fruit juices could be used as a fruit substitute. When asked if they knew the benefit of the fruit that is served to the child or whether they give the fruit because the child likes it, 52% said no. Also, 48% of parents did not know the required amount of vegetable portions for their child per day.


“As they say, better late than never.  ECA-APER are thus launching a massive campaign to create this awareness in parents and schools #chuckthejunk #bewisechooseright and #saynotojunk. It is only when the ‘village’ that raises children wakes up to understand that food that our children are ingesting is harming them in more ways than one,” said Dr Swati Popat Vats, President, Early Childhood Association and Association for Preparatory Education and Research.

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