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Cornish Leisure Centre Food Under Fire

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10:43am 21st May 2012

Cornish leisure centres come under fire for not offering healthy food.

Parents are starting a campaign because they are worried menus rely on things like chips, burgers and fried food.

They also do not like vending machines full of chocolate and crisps.

Anna from near Helston says they have a responsibility:

" A Leisure Centre carries a lot of weight in the signals it brings to families and to children about what is healthy. So, I think people will go away thinking 'Well if the Leisure Centre can do it, then it's fine"

"I'd really like them to stop thinking of profit and to put sensible alternatives on the menu. People go to the leisure centre to exercise, people go to the Leisure Centre because they want to be healthy.  Diet is very much a part of that as well "

But bosses have been defending the food sold in their cafes.

Barry Holding is in charge at Carn Brea in Pool:

"We've tried small pasta salads for the kids, fruit options, fruit bags, things like that. It didn't work. We tried fruit in the vending machines as well but we found that, not only did they get damaged when they were vended, but they went off very quickly in there because they weren't bought"

"Every time we try an healthy option we end up with a lot of wastage and selling off the food before it goes out of date or goes off and then sell it off cheap in the cafe area just trying to get something back off it"

Marc Laundon from Carrick Leisure said:

" We try to achieve a balance by offering a selection of items including healthier options, for example bottled water and Isotonic drinks along with popular branded drinks and we have fruit and homemade food available in our cafes. Many people of all ages enjoy a drink and a snack at the end of their visit and these customers would doubtless be unhappy if they were not able to enjoy their preferred options. We have previously tried healthy snack vending machines which resulted in the majority of the stock being disposed of as very few customers purchased any of the products and ultimately it is a matter of customer choice"

"The surplus made from the vending machines is used to offset the cost of operating the facilities. If the vending machines were removed we would have to look at alternative methods of covering the gap in income which may result in increased charges. Vending machines are widely available in many buildings accessible to the public, even in hospitals, so why wouldn't it be acceptable for them to be in leisure facilities"
"We undertake regular exit surveys and customers are given the opportunity of providing written feedback through customer comment forms or verbal feedback through the reception staff. We are not aware of any underlying trend from customers about the presence of the vending machines being an issue"

10:43am 21st May 2012

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