Lunchtime food and drink purchasing : young people’s practices, preferences and power within and beyond the school gate
This paper highlights factors that influence young people aged 13–15 years when purchasing food or drink within or beyond the school catering service. The paper draws from a qualitative study of secondary schools in Scotland, which varied in terms of relative socioeconomic deprivation and density of food and drink businesses within a 10-min walk. Analysis is situated within a children’s rights framework, underpinned by the sociology of childhood in order to make sense of the power and influence that young people have when purchasing food and drink. The data suggest that the school cafeteria is less able to meet young people’s social and food needs than the external food environment. The commercial basis of young people’s relationship with food businesses informs the way young people are treated as valued consumers. The authors consider the implications this has for the way that food and drink is sold and promoted in schools.