There would be contradiction to the statement that children are the future of our country. A healthy nation needs healthy citizens and the children of today are the citizens of tomorrow. As mentioned in our letter, there is growing concern as to the health of our children studying in schools in the country today. Easy availability of junk food and fizzy drinks in school premises are the primary reason for this state of affairs. The inherent nature of children and their propensity for tasty food without looking at health concerns makes this matter more serious. Junk food vendors have stalls and vending machines inside school premises, with a business arrangement with school authorities, to serve the children unhealthy food and drinks.
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Manufacturers of such items also are responsible for creating such a situation. It might come as surprise that almost 480 million pounds are spent on television advertisements alone every year to promote such products. The advertisements are created in such a way as to affect their eating habits in favour of junk food and drinks. Parents and school authorities are now very concerned and would like the government to take steps to tackle the problem. “A series of surveys have demonstrated that the majority of parents are in favour of a protecting their children from junk food advertising. A recent British Heart Foundation survey found that 68% of parents were in favour of pre-9pm junk food advertising restrictions, with only 7% against.” (Junk Food Marketing: Junk Food Advertising and Marketing Works. 2008).
It is our proposal that schools in the country take up the matter themselves instead of waiting for legislations. As the first school to be approached, we sincerely hope that an arrangement can be worked out and ultimately set an example for other schools to follow.
Nat Fruits is a rapidly expanding business engaged in selling fresh fruit and vegetable juice and healthy snacks through stalls and vending machines. One can find us in many street corners and shopping malls in the city. We have more than ten years of experience in this line of business and have a turnover of more than 100,000,000 pounds. We use only organic foods grown in our modest farm and through purchase from local farmers.
With proper education and guidance children can be persuaded to change to healthier food habits. If this happens, there is tremendous scope in setting up fresh fruit and healthy snack stalls in schools that will be mutually beneficial to both of us. All relevant details are given in detail below.
Extent of the problem
A recent National Diet and Nutrition survey ahs discovered that 92% of children consume unhealthy saturated fat in excess of RDA, 86% have excess RDA intake of sugar, 72% have excess salt intake and a whopping 96% do not get enough nutrients by not consuming adequate fruits and vegetables. “Children’s dietary health, in particular childhood obesity, is widely recognized as one of our most pressing public health problems.” (Children’s Diet Crisis. 2008). These figures are self-explanatory and need no further elaboration.
A detailed study was made by the company to substantiate our initial findings. Officials from our company visited 20 schools inside the city of London. The following findings were made. Methodology used to collect data was mainly through informal interviews with existing staff of vendors of junk food inside school premises. Interviews with school authorities, parents and students were also conducted. Questionnaires were used to interview students. Copy of the questionnaire is included in the appendix
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- Students spend on an average £1 per day on junk food and fizzy drinks.
- Only one third that amount was spent on healthier items like fruit juice and salads
- Main reasons cited by students for the above was non availability of alternatives – 57%, taste – 36% and cost – 3%.
- 44% of students were willing to try healthier alternatives if they found it to their liking.
- An awareness session on health was given at each school lasting one hour, after which 75% of students were ready to try healthier alternatives for reasons of better health. This figure can be achieved only if junk food vendors are not present in school premises
Our proposal is to set up stalls in the school premises once occupied by fast food vendors if possible or alongside their stalls. Only fruit juices, milk (hot, cold, flavored) and salads (including fruit salads) will be made available.
- We are willing to offer up to 30 of our profits going to the school. Independent audit of our accounts may be conducted by the school authorities for verification of figures.
- A pilot study period of six months can be agreed to for the schools to see whether the proposal works out. If found satisfactory a contract for a period of five years can be signed.
- The school authorities will provide an area of 100 sq. ft. to set up our stalls. Power to run mixers, blenders and ovens will have to be provided. Burners will be using gas and the same will be taken care of by our company.
- A running water facility with a sink and drainage facility for water from the sink has to be added. In addition to the above, a small room with a deep freeze (provided by company) adjacent to or near the stall may be used as a store to keep fruits, vegetables and other materials be made available.
- A student strength of 500 is estimated to bring in about £3000 of profit per month. In such a case the school will get £1000 as per agreement. The school can estimate profits as per the number of students in their schools.
- All efforts will be made to keep the prices of our products steady. Due to seasonal nature of some fruits, small variations in prices may be unavoidable.
Nutrition Advisory Board
A board that will advice and educate students, parents and teacher will be formed with our initiative. The board will include representatives of parents, teachers, students and a part time qualified nutritionist, salary to be paid for be the company. “A working group could be assembled to oversee the policy writing and consultation. School Nutrition Action Groups (SNAGs) or a food forum (like a school council) are successful models that many schools use throughout the country”. (Establishing a Whole School Food Policy: Bringing Together Messages about Food Throughout the Whole School Day: How to Develop and Implement a Whole School Food Policy. P. 4).
Our products initially will be limited to fresh juice, salads (vegetables and fruits) and milk (hot, cold, flavoured). The nutrition content of the main items is given below.
|Fruits||Amount||Minerals Contained||Vitamins Contained|
|Apple||One medium apple with skin contains almost 4 grams of dietary fiber.||Potassium – 158 mg |
Calcium – 9.5 mg
Phosphorus – 9.5 mg
Magnesium – 7 mg
Selenium -.4 mg
Also contains small amounts of iron, manganese, copper and zinc.
|Vitamin A – 73 IU |
Vitamin C – 9 mg
Folate (important during pregnancy) – 4 mcg
Vitamin E -.66 IU
|Grapes||One cup of grapes contains one gram of protein and 1.6 grams of dietary fiber.||Potassium – 176 mg |
Calcium – 13 mg
Phosphorus – 9 mg
Magnesium – 4.6 mg
Iron -.4 mg
Selenium -.3 mg
Also contains trace amounts of zinc, manganese and copper.
|Vitamin A – 92 IU |
Vitamin C – 3.7 mg
Folate (important during pregnancy) – 3.6 mcg
Vitamin B6 -.1 mg
|Orange||one medium orange contains 1 gram of protein and 3 grams of dietary fiber.||Potassium – 237 mg |
Calcium – 52 mg
Phosphorus – 18 mg
Magnesium – 13 mg
Selenium -.65 mg
Also contains trace amounts of iron, zinc, manganese and copper.
|Vitamin A – 269 IU |
Vitamin C – 70 mg
Folate (important during pregnancy) – 40 mcg
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) -.1 mg
Pantothenic Acid -.33
(Dr. Decuypere’s Nutrient Charts: Fruit Chart. 2002).
Fruit Salad containing apple, grapes, banana and mango in a single serving of 200 gms
|Vitamin A||2000 IU|
|Vitamin C||12 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.8 mcg|
|Vitamin E||1.2 IU|
Note: Other vitamins and minerals available in trace amounts.
Natfruits hereby guarantee that all agricultural produce used by us has been grown organically in our own farms or in farms that have organic certification. In our case our products are certified by the Organic Farmers and Growers Association. “Talk to us about the inspection and licensing of organic food processing, farming, body care products and other organic enterprises, as well as composting certification to PAS 100 and the Compost Quality Protocol.” (Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) is a Leading UK Certification Body with a Reputation for Practical, Efficient and Friendly Service. 2008).
Helping the farming community
A switch to healthy alternatives in schools will be a big boon for the farming community in the region. The need for organically grown produce will increase substantially. It is our endeavour to buy locally as much produce as possible. “Organic farming may offer UK farmers an opportunity to improve business profitability, biodiversity and sustainability both within agriculture and rural communities.” (Converting to Organic Farming. 2006).
The survey conducted by us has convinced us that this is a viable opportunity as a business and a necessity as far as health is concerned. The many news items regarding this issue only fortify our stand. A conservative estimate is that 60% of students will try our products. With the cooperation from your side we can strive to create better health in our children. We will be following up with other schools in the city immediately. If implemented here, a model can be set for other schools to follow.
Please feel free to contact us for any clarifications.
Questionnaire to students:
- Q.1. In which school are you studying?
- Q.2. In which class are you studying?
- Q.3. How old are you now?
- Q.4. Does your school have facility for buying eatables?
- Q.5. What are the main items available?
- Cakes and pastries
- fizzy drinks
- Others (Specify)
- Q.6. Which item do you buy most often?
- Q.7. For what amount do you buy items every day?
- Q.8. Do you know that these products are not very good for you? (a) Yes (b) No
- Q.9. Do you get to buy products like fruit juices, salads etc?
- Q.10 If yes, do you buy them?
- Q.11. Will you buy such products if no other products were available?
Note: Question to be asked again after health education class.
Please find enclosed a report and proposal for starting a fresh fruit and vegetable juice stall in your prestigious institution.
As you are well aware, junk foods available in schools in the country have had a negative influence on the health of students.. Obesity levels among school students are rising at an alarming rate. Parents and school authorities have expressed concern many times in the past over this issue. As the head of your institution you too must have felt concern for this trend.
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Natfruit Drinks is a well established company that sells fresh fruit and vegetable juices and healthy snacks in many parts of the city of London. We have over ten years of experience in this field and you may find us in street corners and many of the malls here.
Please go through the report and proposal and allow us to have a personal meeting with you at a later date that is convenient for you.
Children’s Diet Crisis. (2008). Children’s Food Campaign. [online]. Sustainweb. Web.
Converting to Organic Farming. (2006). [online]. defra – Department for Environment Foods and Rural Affairs. Web.
Dr. Decuypere’s Nutrient Charts: Fruit Chart. (2002). [online]. Health alternatives 2000.com. Web.
Establishing a Whole School Food Policy: Bringing Together Messages about Food Throughout the Whole School Day: How to Develop and Implement a Whole School Food Policy. [online]. DATA, British Nutrition Foundation. P. 4. Web.
Junk Food Marketing: Junk Food Advertising and Marketing Works. (2008). Children’s Food Campaign. [online]. Sustainweb. Web.
Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) is a Leading UK Certification Body with a Reputation for Practical, Efficient and Friendly Service. (2008). [online]. Organic Farmers and Growers, Organic Certification UK2. Web.