University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-210
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Early online date17 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016


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.


© 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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