New research has revealed a third of kids consider a sugar filled lunchbox to be a bad lunchbox.

The new school year means the return of the school lunchbox, but before we stock our pantries full of delicious snacks, new research has uncovered the do’s and don’ts of school lunchboxes, as determined by Aussie kids.

The next generation of school children are becoming more health conscious as they’re looking for healthier, more convenient ways to snack. Contrary to popular belief, the research reveals one third (32.6%) of Aussie kids say too many sugary treats make a bad lunchbox. So maybe a spoonful of sugar doesn’t help the medicine go down?

New research conducted by McCrindle and commissioned by Noshu, an Australian-owned sugar free foods company, has revealed the key to a perfect lunchbox in the eyes of kids, as well as kids’ snacking habits in the playground, and the most common items that remain uneaten in a school lunchbox.

The key to the perfect lunchbox

Kids love finding fun snacks in their lunchbox, but for them, it’s surprisingly all about moderation and variety. Over a third (39.9%) of Aussie kids say that a good balance of healthy food and special treats is the key to a good lunchbox, whilst a further one third (35.7%) say that a good lunchbox consists of snacks that are delicious but not bad for their health. For half (50.2%) of school-aged children, they prioritise taste, saying they consider their lunchbox is ‘good’ if tasty snacks are on the menu.

Healthy snacking

When it comes to what kids are looking for in treats, it’s no surprise they want something that excites their tastebuds. Over half of children say they like their favourite snack because it feels like a special treat (51.6%), whilst almost half (44.8%) say they like their top snack because it tastes sweet. However, the good news is that kids are becoming more health conscious, with two in five (38.8%) saying they enjoy their favoured snack because it’s healthy, and the majority (71.2%) said they would try a new snack if they knew it was healthy.

Sharing is caring

It’s 2021 and the playground snack market is still thriving with more than half (58.2%) of school-aged kids saying they like to share their snacks with their classmates. The top reason for sharing is because they have curious tastebuds and want to try a variety of snacks (58%). However, over a third (36.3%) don’t participate in the snack trades if they really like what they have in their lunchbox.

Lunchbox leftovers

Try as we might to encourage our kids to finish what’s on their plate, it’s inevitable they come home with lunchbox leftovers. Sides are picked in the playground when it comes to fruit, with a third (32.6%) of kids
taking uneaten fruit home, whilst for a fifth (20.5%) of kids, it’s the first item they reach for in their lunchbox. Another lunchbox casualty is cut-up veggies, with almost a third (28.2%) of kids admitting they don’t eat this healthy item.

Noshu founder, Rachel Bajada says, “With the movement against excess sugar consumption continuing to gain momentum and parents wanting to be more responsible, it’s great to see the positive effect on Aussie kids also, who are now more aware of the negative effects of sugar, and are opting for healthier items in their lunchboxes.

“As this generation of kids become healthier, more conscious eaters, it’s still a daily headache for time poor parents who often struggle to put together a lunchbox that strikes the balance of healthy and fun – but most importantly, the food won’t come home uneaten at the end of the day. The supermarket is cluttered with snack foods that are dressed up to look healthy, but are in fact, still full of hidden sugars, so we set out to create a range of healthier, convenient treats that kids love to enjoy and adults don’t feel guilty about buying.

The research was commissioned by Noshu and conducted by McCrindle in January 2021 with a sample of 1,000 Australians aged 5-12 years old. The data was weighted by age, gender and region to reflect the latest ABS population estimates.

  • Bad lunchboxes exposed – kids say a bad lunchbox lacks tasty snacks (41.8%), doesn’t enough food to fill them up (40.8%) and there’s too many sugary foods in it (32.6%)
  • Lunchbox besties – Favourite items that get picked first in the lunchbox line-up are sandwiches (26.9%) and sweet treats (12.7%)
  • The playground snack market – more than a quarter of kids (28.7%) trade snacks a couple of times a week and over a third (38.5%) of kids admit they don’t trade snacks because their parents or guardians say they’re not allowed