The proportion of kids’ lunchboxes containing crisps has halved in the past 15 years, according to new research.

A study by Kantar Worldpanel comparing the content of five to 15-year-olds’ lunchboxes today with what was in them in 2000 has shown plenty of signs they are getting healthier.

Crisps have fallen from second to fifth place in the list of most popular items, and the proportion of lunchboxes containing crisps has more than halved to 19.4% today.

In contrast, fruit has risen to second place (41.5%) – up from third position fifteen years ago – and now appears in more than two-fifths (41.5%) of lunchboxes. Apples are the most popular fruit to take to school, followed by grapes, bananas, ‘easy peelers’ (such as tangerines, clementines and satsumas) and berries and currants.

Sandwiches still top the chart and feature in 77.9% of lunchboxes, with ham the most popular filling and appearing in over a third (36.3%) of all sandwiches, followed by cheese, chicken, tuna and jam.

Top sandwich fillings

Ham  36.3
Cheese  16
Chicken  10.7
Tuna  7.3
Jam  4.7

Fromage frais – which didn’t make the top five at all in 2000 – is now the third most popular item, appearing 20.6% of all lunchboxes.

Drinking habits have also changed, with nearly 15% of lunch boxes containing mineral water compared with fewer than 2% in 2000.

“Shows like Jamie’s School Dinners and the subsequent Feed Me Better campaign haven’t just had an impact on what’s served in the canteen as these healthy initiatives have resonated with parents across the board,” said Kantar Worldpanel analyst Elliot Barnard.

In July, The Grocer reported how free school meals had contributed to a 28.6%, drop in consumption of packed meals among five to nine-year-olds.