Parents Just Saying No to Drugs - In Children's Lunchboxes

Survey reveals majority of parents concerned about antibiotics in deli meat

Sep 25, 2012, 12:30 ET from Applegate

BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A new school lunch survey shows that the vast majority of kids are brown bagging it; and while deli meat is beating out the venerable PB&J, parents are concerned about how it is made, including the use of antibiotics and hormones in animals raised for food.

The "What's In Your Kid's Lunch" survey, sponsored by Applegate, the nation's leading provider of natural and organic meat, shows 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 top item included in lunches (reported by 80 percent) was a sandwich or wrap.  Of the parents who turn to sandwiches for their children's noon meal, sliced deli meats beat out jelly, peanut butter and cheese as fillings.

"Labor Day may be behind us, but for the vast majority of parents, the back-to-school scramble, including preparing a lunch everyday, is just starting," says Stephen McDonnell, Applegate co-founder and CEO.  "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 really want to know what's in those deli meat products and how they are made. And 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," says McDonnell.

McDonnell encourages parents to visit Applegate online to learn more about the "What's In Your Kid's Lunch" survey and get advice on packing a drug-free lunch.

More Survey Findings
The "What's in Your Kid's Lunch" survey revealed other concerns and attitudes about school lunches:

  • 71 percent of lunch-packing parents say that they and their kids get bored quickly with lunch options (not surprising with an average of 180 school days in the U.S.)
  • 89 percent said it was important to have all food groups represented in a child's lunch
  • 75 percent admitted worry about how much of the lunch they pack for their children actually gets eaten

About the Survey
The research was conducted using Toluna's Online Omnibus; interviews were completed on August 20 through August 22, 2012.  The sample of 813 respondents is representative of US adults aged 18+ with children under the age of 18 living at home and is balanced on three key demographics: age, sex, and region of the US.

Additionally, respondents with the following characteristics were identified for analysis:

Lunch-Packing Parents – US parents who pack a school lunch for their children to take to school.

Sandwich-Making Parents - US parents who pack a school lunch for their children to take to school and who regularly include sandwiches or wraps.

Sample sizes and margins of error for these sample groups are as follows:

Sample group


Margin of Error

US Adults with kids at home


+/- 3.4%

Lunch-Packing Parents


+/- 4.1%

Sandwich-Making Parents


+/- 4.6%

About Applegate
For more than 25 years, Applegate has been producing high-quality natural and organic hot dogs, bacon, sausages, deli meats, cheese and frozen products.  Natural can mean many things, but when Applegate says their products are natural, consumers are guaranteed that the meat inside is:

  • Raised without antibiotics or hormones
  • From animals fed a vegetarian or 100% grass diet and treated with humane animal standards
  • Free of added chemical nitrites, nitrates or phosphates
  • Free of artificial ingredients or preservatives

For more information about our products, visit, or engage with us on Twitter @Applegate, Facebook and Pinterest

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
Stephen McDonnell

SOURCE Applegate