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    Parents Wary of Deli Meat in Kids’ Lunches

    Use of antibiotics, hormones remain top concerns

    According to a school lunch survey sponsored by Applegate, many students bring their lunch from home, as parents remain concerned about deli meat, how it’s made, and the use of antibiotics and hormones in animals raised for food.

    The “What’s In Your Kid’s Lunch” survey reveals that 69 percent of U.S. parents report packing lunches for their kids, with nearly a third of parents packing a lunch every day. Of those lunch-packing parents, the most popular item included in lunches, reported by 80 percent, was a sandwich or wrap.

    "Labor Day may be behind us, but for the vast majority of parents, the back-to-school scramble, including preparing a lunch every day, is just starting," said Stephen McDonnell, co-founder and CEO of Applegate, a Bridgewater, N.J.-based provider of natural and organic meat. "Our survey shows parents are packing a lot of lunches, and what's in those lunches is very important to them."

    Of those parents who pack lunches for their kids, 94 percent agree that deli sandwiches are quick and easy to prepare, and 81 percent said they want to know what's in deli meat products and how they’re made. With 79 percent of lunch-packing parents saying it's important that the deli meats they buy are made from animals not treated with antibiotics and hormones, another 82 percent said it was unfair and misleading that meat companies can label products as natural even when antibiotics are used.

    "Parents know they don't want antibiotics in their kids' deli sandwiches, but many times they don't know they are getting them," added McDonnell.

    Additional findings from the survey:

    • 71 percent of lunch-packing parents said that they and their kids get bored quickly with lunch options
    • 89 percent said it was important to have all food groups represented in a child's lunch
    • 75 percent admitted worrying about how much of the lunch they pack for their children actually gets eaten

    Interviews for the “What’s In Your Kid’s Lunch” survey were conducted on Aug. 20, comprising 813 respondents.

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