From the failing government scheme that is actually putting children off eating fruit to the mobile phone ban in restaurant chain Frankie & Benny’s these are the food news stories that have caught our eye this week.

Independent

Government scheme to make school children eat more fruit and veg ‘actually putting them off’ The scheme provides a free piece of fruit or veg to children aged four to six during their school day. https://inews.co.uk/news/health/school-fruit-vegetables-scheme-failing-soil-association/

A history of how Christmas food got so bizarre. Have we gone too far? https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/christmas/christmas-food-most-bizarre-weirdest-2018/

Shareholders in the Restaurant Group have approved the leisure group’s £559 million takeover of Wagamama despite fierce opposition from rebel investors. At a crunch investor meeting, just over 60 per cent of institutional shareholders voted in favour of the takeover, which is being accompanied by a cash call whose terms have also raised some shareholders’ hackles. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/restaurant-group-investors-approve-wagamama-takeover-3c7llk0xc

The times

A restaurant chain has become the first in Britain to ban mobile phones in an attempt to improve family mealtimes. From Thursday this week, Frankie & Benny’s, the American-style family diner, introduced no-phone zones in its 250 UK restaurants. Customers are encouraged to place their devices in a box on arrival at the table, with free children’s meals offered as an incentive. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/frankie-benny-s-bans-mobile-phones-j59q7t0kc

Morrisons rocks Spanish with cheesy take on churros. The diplomatic row between Britain and Spain over Gibraltar is minor compared with another conflict over what (to some people anyway) is a more serious subject: churros. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/morrisons-rocks-spanish-with-cheesy-take-on-churros-ktw3qz55w

Daily Mail

Junk food TV ads ‘affects children’s brains’ and stops them identifying foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Children could not distinguish between foods high in fat, sugar and salt. The TV advertisements particularly affect children who are already overweight. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6424009/Junk-food-TV-ads-affect-childrens-brains.html

NHS will put 5,000 diabetics on ultra-low calorie ‘soup and shake’ diets to reverse Type 2 diabetes. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6444663/NHS-5-000-diabetics-ultra-low-calorie-soup-shake-diets-reverse-Type-2-diabetes.html

Mirror

Busiest Christmas ever for foodbanks as Universal Credit roll-out comes to an end. As twinkling festive displays adorn the streets, a starving Brit trudges to the foodbank to stave off hunger – and is grateful for a Pot Noodle. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/foodbanks-dish-out-record-15-13647210