So much for the Big Society. The news last October that budget cuts had caused the closure of 3,000 breakfast clubs - leaving an estimated 75,000 children hungry - shocked parents and non-parents alike.
The figure emerged in a report by Kellogg’s, which surveyed 727 teaching staff about the state of the nation’s breakfast clubs. It’s a theme close to Kellogg’s heart - since 1998 it has invested £1.5m to help establish breakfast clubs at 550 UK schools. “We have provided three million breakfasts for schoolchildren each year,” says Kellogg’s UK director of sales Colin Bebbington.
It wasn’t until October 2011, though, that Kellogg’s - inspired by its research - took the step of launching a national campaign to aid breakfast clubs, pledging a 3p donation to school breakfast clubs for every pack of Corn Flakes sold.
“We advertised our ‘Help Give A Child A Breakfast’ campaign on packs of Corn Flakes,” says Bebbington, “and we’re planning the same again from October.”
Kellogg’s isn’t alone in getting involved in breakfast clubs. Greggs, for one, runs 150 at primary schools around the country - and in May 2011 Hovis began donating bread to 44 schools across Nottingham.
PepsiCo, meanwhile, joined forces with Magic Breakfast - a charity delivering healthy breakfasts to primary schools - in 2008, offering Quaker oats and Tropicana juices free of charge. In three years, the company says, it has helped give 6,000 pupils about one million breakfasts.
“Our ultimate aim is to get those schools to be self-sufficient so we can extend our offering to the next school and the next,” says Patrick Kalotis, group marketing director for Quaker and Tropicana.