Case study

The Soil Association's 'Out to Lunch' campaign

‘Out to Lunch’ campaign aims to improve the food and service offered to families on the high street.

Child eating at an Out to Lunch venue
Image copyright The Soil Association

Launched in 2013, the Soil Association’s Out to Lunch campaign is working with restaurants and pub chains to improve the food and service offered to children and families when they eat out on the high street.

With the help of a team of ‘secret diner’ parents, the campaign compiled an ‘Out to Lunch’ league table, ranking 21 of Britain’s top high street chains.

Out to Lunch aims to improve healthy menu development and encourages good sourcing and preparation practices, making life easier for parents who want their families to eat well.

As a result of the campaign there are:

  • more healthy options on offer - more chains are now serving a portion of veg or salad with every meal and fewer chains are offering refillable sugary drinks
  • more sustainable options on offer - more chains now include information on ingredient sourcing on the menu
  • more chains serving sustainable fish
  • more than 6 million improved meal options served in participating restaurant chains last year

Out to Lunch has worked closely with high street chains Harvester, Prezzo, Strada and Giraffe to develop their children’s menu and service. Harvester has since removed refillable soft drinks, and has introduced healthy eating guidance on the menu. Prezzo has introduced a chicken salad and now offers fresh fruit for pudding. Strada now offers a salad with every main, a fresh fruit pudding, and the option of choosing smaller portions of adult meals. Café Rouge has stopped promoting refillable sugary soft drinks on the children’s menu.

Following the launch of the visitor attractions league table, the British Museum committed to introducing a vegetable portion with every child’s meal. Brighton Pier committed to making healthy options more visible, and the Natural History Museum launched a healthier new children’s menu.

Jamie’s Italian and the Eden Project are at the top of the league tables, offering well sourced ingredients and a healthy choice. Jamie’s Italian worked with Out to Lunch to introduce a more flexible menu that caters for smaller and larger appetites, and now uses more seasonal ingredients on the children’s menu.

Published 20 January 2017