17th September 2014 

Thousands of hungry school children will be benefiting from a healthy and nutritious start to the day thanks to a new partnership between Tesco and the charity Magic Breakfast.


Starting this month, Tesco will supply 40,000 boxes of own-brand cereal to Magic Breakfast for children to eat at the charity’s breakfast clubs. Magic Breakfast supplies free, nourishing breakfast food to more than 250 primary schools across England to help improve the concentration, learning, attendance and well-being of pupils for their core morning lessons.


The four types of cereal being donated by Tesco – Cornflakes, Rice Snaps, Wheat Biscuits and Malt Wheats - have been carefully selected to provide vital fuel for learning. Boxes of own-brand cereal on sale at Tesco stores will also feature information about Magic Breakfast and how people can donate.


Greg Sage, Community Director for Tesco, said:
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with Magic Breakfast – the work the charity does to help make sure children don’t start school on an empty stomach can make a real difference to their academic achievement”.


Carmel McConnell, Founder Director of Magic Breakfast, said: “Magic Breakfast was set up out of love and concern for children and a belief in their potential, given the right start. A hungry child cannot concentrate. This new Tesco donation of cereals will save the charity thousands of pounds this year, money we can use to extend to new schools who need help to reach hungry school children”.


The announcement comes at a particularly key time for Magic Breakfast as the charity undergoes a period of rapid expansion.  From feeding 8,500 children at the beginning of term, the charity is aiming to reach 14,500 pupils by Christmas.  


September is also a key time to catch those children who have not been eating or exercising properly during the long, summer holiday. Following the release of research in August (by the Trussell Trust) indicating “holiday hunger” among children in the UK, Magic Breakfast has conducted a back-to-school survey of all its partner schools asking if teachers have seen evidence of malnutrition in pupils returning after the summer break.


Of those who have responded, one third say they have seen evidence of malnourishment, with nearly 40% reporting noticing significant weight gain among pupils. Teachers say it takes several weeks for these children to return to the state of health they were at the end of the summer term. Here are some of their observations:


“Hunger, change in body shape, tiredness, sadness.”

“Weight loss, bad skin, withdrawn.”

“Cold sores on faces, tired eyes.” 

“Some children are lethargic and seem like they ‘can't be bothered’ despite 5 - 6 weeks off school!  Those who have gained weight struggle with fitness in activities like Wake up + Shake Up after breakfast.”

“Asking for food throughout the day, asking for seconds at lunchtime. Tiredness, no energy”.

“Increased appetite, eat more at breakfast club and lunch. Enjoy more healthy eating, fruit, cereals etc.”


Carmel McConnell: “When you think about hunger as a barrier to education, the UK isn’t the first place you’d think about. But sadly up to a million school children fail to make the most of their lessons, simply because they start their day too hungry or malnourished to learn. Magic Breakfast is determined to do something about it.


Notes to editors


         About Magic Breakfast: Magic Breakfast is an independent charity providing free, healthy breakfasts to over 8,500 primary school children in England. The charity supports schools where more than 35% of pupils are eligible for Free School Meals by helping them set up and run their own breakfast clubs. To meet increasing demand, Magic Breakfast is expanding and will be reaching secondary and SEN pupils too. It is aiming to be feeding 14,500 children by Christmas. In 2014, Magic Breakfast was the successful applicant in the School Food Plan Lot 3 funding from the Department for Education to set up 184 new breakfast clubs.

         About Tesco’s big ambition on health: Last year Tesco announced a commitment to help customers and colleagues live healthier lives.  This new partnership is part of the work Tesco is doing to meet that commitment, alongside The Tesco Eat Happy Project, which teaches children about the food they eat, sponsorship of Race for Life and the removal of sweets from all Tesco checkouts in January 2015. The partnership between Tesco and Magic Breakfast is set to run until May 2015.