Soft play centres are great places for kids to enjoy healthy exercise and with the help of Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Service, they are healthier places to eat too!
This project has shown how businesses and the Trading Standards Service can work together to deliver healthier and more nutritionally balanced foods for the benefit of the children living in our communities.
Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection
Trading Standards Officers have been working closely with five soft play centres located across the county, including The Adventure Zone located in Rugby to provide free help and advice to improve their menus and raise the nutritional standard of the food being served.
Officers visited all the centres to sample the food and answer any questions owners and operators had. Analysts then tested the food, looking at the levels of the ‘big 8’: protein; fat; carbohydrates; energy; saturates; fibre; sodium and sugar.
Dishes tested included vegetable pasta, chicken with vegetables, burger and chips and spaghetti bolognaise.
The results revealed that some of the foods being served needed more carbohydrates so they provided children with greater energy and a couple needed less salt. The results were generally very encouraging and in most instances only relatively small changes were needed.
Officers also made recommendations on simple swaps that could be made in order to improve the quality of the food used. For example swapping tuna in brine for tuna in spring water and cordial drinks for cartons of fruit juice or water.
Warwickshire County Councillor Richard Hobbs, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection said: “This project has shown how businesses and the Trading Standards Service can work together to deliver healthier and more nutritionally balanced foods for the benefit of the children living in our communities.”
Darren and Lorraine Malt, owners of The Adventure Zone Soft Play Ltd said:
“We were delighted to be able to work with the Trading Standards Service and make the foods we serve better than ever!”
Trading Standards Officers also advised the soft play centres on food labelling, so they were better able to choose healthier foods when they visited their wholesalers. For example, ingredients are listed on foods in order of weight (greatest weight first). Therefore, a product that had salt high on the list was likely to be quite salty.
Warwickshire Trading Standards would like to thank the owners and operators of the soft play centres for their help and support in this project and for the enthusiasm they have displayed in wanting to do all they can to improve the foods on their menus.
Officers commented they were very impressed by the commitment of the owners and staff of the centres to serve food as healthy as possible.
Trading Standards Officers have reported that the soft play centres have already begun to act upon the recommendations made by the service.
The participating soft play centres were:
The Playpit - Nuneaton
Clowning Around - Southam
Adventure Zone - Rugby
Bungo's Barn – Bidford upon Avon