Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs

Tackling Childhood Obesity: Discussion

9:30 am

Ms Janis Morrissey:

The challenges there come down to pricing of food. Sausage rolls, chicken fillet rolls, spicy wedges and that type of product tend to be cheaper. They are obviously not what we want our children to eat daily. Any negotiations would be very challenging at a local level, where most of the providers operate at a national level. We have engaged with schools that link in with local businesses and have, with our support, changed their catering practices and what the children are offered. It still comes back to the point we made about the environment. Healthier options could be made available in the delicatessen, but will children buy them? If one walks into any delicatessen or newsagent, what does one see? There are shelves of confectionery, crisps, fizzy drinks etc. that are competitively priced. Any meal deals available at these delicatessens tend to include a sugar-sweetened drink and chicken fillet roll. When a child has a certain amount of lunch money per day, that will rule the choices of the child no matter what options might be made available.