The company came first in a league table of 28 well-known outlets across the restaurant, pub and supermarket industry, aimed at highlighting the healthiest meals on offer.
Wetherspoon was ahead of restaurant and pub groups, including Wagamama, McDonald’s, Nando’s, Harvester, Hungry Horse, Leon, Prezzo and Pizza Express.
The Out to Lunch league table was compiled by the Soil Association.
It used a team of 80 volunteer families, recruited from across the UK, to visit and review more than 100 establishments from the league table.
They were scored against a points system, based on school and early years nutrition standards and good practice drawn from the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Scheme (which accredits 1.8 million meals served each day in workplaces, restaurants and schools).
They also took into account whether a variety of dishes is offered to children, making healthy eating easier; whether food is cooked fresh, meat is traceable and free-range eggs and sustainable fish are used; whether children and families are welcomed; whether high chairs and children’s cutlery are available.
Wetherspoon offers up to 18 children’s meals at all times, depending on the location of the pub.
These include tomato & mascarpone pasta, Whitby breaded scampi, freshly battered fish and Quorn vegan sausages.
We serve only sustainable MSC fish, always free-range British eggs and our meals include British beef. In addition, none of the children’s drinks contains any added sugars.
The report criticised several companies for, among other things: offering excessively sugary puddings; not offering vegetables; serving untraceable meat; not supporting British farmers; withholding nutritional information from parents.
The Soil Association’s policy officer, Hattie Shepherd, said:
“Wetherspoon has truly embraced the heart of the Out to Lunch campaign by continually striving to make it easier for children to make healthy choices – and we are delighted to see it awarded top place in this year’s league table.
“It does a fantastic job and proves that cost is not a barrier to providing tasty food which is healthy, sustainable and supports British farmers.”
Wetherspoon’s food-development manager, Oliver Addis, added: “We are delighted to have topped the league table.
“Our children’s meals are extremely popular – and we innovate continually to offer parents the best-possible meals for their children, in terms of both quality and health.
“Providing children with meals which they will enjoy and are good for them is a top priority for us – and we are pleased that this has been recognised.”
The Soil Association
The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists – to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment.
Today, the Soil Association is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.