Evaluation of the Ministry of Food Schools programme on cooking confidence, food literacy and dietary behaviour

Primary student cooking in school kitchen

The World Health Organisation recommends that children and young people consume diets rich in fruits and vegetables and wholegrain and low in foods high in saturated fats and sugary snacks and drinks for reducing risk of disease in adulthood. However, diet quality is less than optimal in the UK, despite wide ranging government action to promote healthy diets and improve dietary preferences and choices. 

British adolescents in particular have poor quality diets with only 5% of adolescents aged 11 to 18 years meeting recommendations for fruits and vegetables and free sugars. 

This study aims to evaluate the impact of the 10 week Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food (MoF) in schools cooking programme on cooking confidence, food literacy and food consumption in pupils aged 11-13 years.  

Pre- and post- course evaluation data will be collected, with baseline data collected between September 2023 and January 2024 and follow up data collected one school term-6 months later. 

The setting will be secondary schools taking part in the Jamie Oliver MoF school cooking programme. Pupils in years 7 to 9 will receive the programme over 10 weeks in one term with a weekly lesson of 50 minutes. Pupils will cook a meal containing fresh produce including vegetables in each lesson.

One class in each year will be randomly selected to participate in the evaluation. 

The evaluation tools will include baseline online questionnaires with questions in the following three areas; confidence in cooking with raw ingredients, food literacy and dietary behaviour (with vegetable intake (g) as a key outcome). Qualitative data will be collected from a small number of design and technology teaching staff and pupils at the end of the programme.

The results will help us to understand the impact of the cooking programme on food literacy and dietary behaviour.  

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