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Four fifths of parents decide what food to buy their children by considering the nutritional values of a product or its price.

According to the Family Food Survey, carried out though the Raisingkids.co.uk website and commissioned by the Food Advertising Unit, 98% of parents rate nutritional value as important or very important when buying food for their children. Only 14% had agreed to let a child try a product that they asked for after seeing it advertised, and 96% believed it was up to parents to explain to children that they can’t have everything they see advertised.

The survey also addressed the issue of parental awareness of nutritional targets, with mixed results. When asked how much salt a child between seven and ten years should consume, 72% of parents got the answer right, saying fewer than five grams per day. In addition 85% correctly answered that the age at which you should give children semi-skimmed milk is when they’re over two years old.

However, despite the fact that iron is an important nutrient for growing children, only 56% knew that beef is the best source. Moreover, 36% did not know how many calories an eight-year-old boy should consume each day, with only 13% correctly saying it is 1750.