Last week, the Tesco Eat Happy Project launched a series of pop-up Easter cooking classes for nearly 900 children in 25 Tesco stores across the UK. The classes, delivered by the Children’s Food Trust and called ‘Let’s Cook’, will teach children aged 5-11 how to cook a variety of healthy meals. The Tesco Eat Happy Project is the retailer’s long-term commitment to help children (aged 4-11 years) have a healthier and happier relationship with food. Tesco has worked with the Children’s Food Trust since 2014, delivering more than cooking courses to more than 3,500 children in stores across the UK.
For two years, the ‘Let’s Get Cooking with The Tesco Eat Happy Project’ will also give clubs – both old and new – grants to help with equipment and ingredient costs, practical cooking training sessions for their volunteer co-ordinators, activity packs and recipe ideas. The project is set to give children in every county in England the chance to improve their cooking skills.
The Children’s Food Trust has confirmed a brand new partnership with The Tesco Eat Happy Project worth almost £5 million to expand ‘Let’s Get Cooking’ – the UK’s biggest network of school cooking clubs. The new clubs will be concentrated in disadvantaged areas with a high proportion of low income families, where improving cooking skills can have the greatest impact for children. Research shows children from poorer homes are more likely to be obese – over a fifth of children from low-income households were classed as obese in 2013, compared with only 7% of children in higher income groups.
Children learn how to cook a huge variety of useful meals at Let’s Get Cooking clubs, from healthy favourites like salads, omelettes and soups to world cuisine like curries and stir fries.
The clubs have shown to have a real and lasting impact on children’s relationship with their food – research shows that almost all children who take part cook again at home, and more than half say they eat more healthily since learning to cook at a club.
As well as keeping around 3,000 existing clubs going, this new partnership with Tesco will help the Children’s Food Trust set up an additional 1,000 clubs across the UK during 2016. This means up to 72,000 more children will get to benefit from learning how to cook at the clubs.
Linda Cregan, Chief Executive Officer of the Children’s Food Trust, said: “If we want children in the UK to eat better, we have to give them the skills they need to cook – and companies like Tesco can have enormous influence to make that happen so we’re thrilled to be working with them.
“This funding is an incredible opportunity to give many more children the chance to make that connection between where food comes from and the meal on a plate, and to grow our army of inspirational cooking club champions right across the UK.”
Originally established seven years ago with £20m of investment from the Big Lottery Fund, The Children’s Food Trust’s Let’s Get Cooking programme has established a network of 3,000 successful primary and special school clubs in England and has so far helped almost 2 million children and parents improve their cooking skills.
Josh Hardie, Corporate Responsibility Director for Tesco said: “The Tesco Eat Happy Project is our long-term commitment to help the next generation have a happier and healthier relationship with their food. A crucial part of this means giving children the tools they need to make better decisions about what they put on their plates when they grow up.”