Research has revealed that children’s packed lunches are changing – but sandwiches remain a staple item.

Kantar Worldpanel conducted research comparing the lunchboxes of five- to 15-year-olds in 2000 and now, which found that, overall, healthier options are favoured.

Sandwiches topped the chart, appearing in 77.9% of children’s lunchboxes as the favourite item.

Meanwhile, the number of lunchboxes holding crisps has more than halved since 2000, now featuring in 19.4% of lunchboxes – a drop from second to fifth place as a most popular item.

Fruit has risen to second place (41.5%), up from third in 2000. Fromage frais was the third most popular item (20.6%) and was not present in the 2000 poll.

The ham sandwich continues to reign supreme, making up over a third (36.3%) of all sandwich appearances. Cheese and chicken take second (16%) and third place (10.7%), followed by tuna (7.3%) and jam (4.7%) sandwiches. 

Apples top the chart for the most popular fruit to take to school, followed by grapes, bananas, ‘easy peelers’ (such as tangerines, clementines and satsumas) and berries and currants.

Elliot Barnard, analyst at Kantar Worldpanel, said: “While sandwiches remain the firm lunchbox favourite, there has been a marked shift in what else kids are packed off to school with since the Millennium. 

“While there’s still a strong demand for the family favourites, competition among brands and retailers for a share of the lunchbox market is more heated than ever before.”

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