Research report

​Food and drink purchasing by secondary school pupils - Beyond the school gate

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The influence of Deprivation and the Food Environment on Food and Drink Purchased by Secondary School Pupils Beyond the School Gate

This research was commissioned by the Food Standards Agency in Scotland to provide insights about the food and drink purchasing practices of secondary school aged pupils who go ‘beyond the school gate’ at lunchtime.

The aim of the study was to investigate what food and drink young people aged 13-15 years purchase beyond the school gate at lunchtime and to explore the factors related to this purchasing. The importance of relative deprivation and the food environment were investigated.

The findings point the way for improvements that could be made within schools. The school food environment is conducive to further changes, which would potentially benefit a larger proportion of young people in Scotland. Current initiatives aimed at schools are appropriate and should continue to be implemented. This study, however, provides further context for such recommendations, in terms of what could be developed and what might be effective.

The Scottish Government has a number of guidance documents aimed at addressing the school environment. Within schools, Better Eating, Better Learning highlights a number of opportunities and ways of driving further improvements in both school food and food education. The environment outside of school is addressed in Beyond the School Gates guidance which provides support to encourage better food choices outside school. This study confirms the appropriateness of continuing to implement this guidance.

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