Food slammed at top theme park

ROLLERCOASTERS may give you a thrill but the food won't – that's today's verdict of a consumer watchdog describing the menu at Suffolk's top tourist attraction.

ROLLERCOASTERS may give you a thrill but the food won't – that's today's verdict of a consumer watchdog describing the menu at Suffolk's top tourist attraction.

The traditional fare of burgers, chips, fried chicken, hot dogs, ice cream and candy floss at the New Pleasurewood Hills Leisure Park hasn't been enough to excite researchers keen on the healthy option.

A report by the Consumers' Association names the park, near Lowestoft, as the third worst attraction in the country for its choice of healthy meals and snacks.

The park's popular-but-tubby mascot Woody Bear might like tucking into a high fat diet but the researchers disagree.

They described the Suffolk tourist attraction as "arguably one of the most depressing of all the theme parks in terms of the choice of food on offer".

The report, which is published today, said fast-food outlets were common at theme parks, mostly dishing up high-fat foods.

Most Read

Kebabs and salads are the healthy option, with fruit and vegetables hard to find or unattractive and unappealing.

But the theme park's managing director, Peter Hadden, was not surprised.

He defended the park's catering provision as proof of how well the attraction was doing.

"Our food is what consumers ask of us.

"In terms of healthy eating options, this report is exactly what we would have expected," he said.

"At a theme park, eating is in competition with riding the attractions and our visitors need to go for quick options.

"The more successful the park, the nearer it is to the bottom of the healthy option scale.

"It is also consumer-led. We've been through trials and tests and we have ended up where we are."

A registered dietician and nutritionist visited Art galleries, zoos, museums, and castles over the past two months for the Consumers' Association report.

Each food outlet at each attraction was awarded a score out of five depending on how many low-fat and fruit and vegetable choices were available.

Pleasurewood Hills scored 33% – only 4% more than the worst two attractions, the Camelot Theme Park in Chorley, Lancashire, and Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire.

Nick Stace, director of campaigns at Which? magazine, said: "Today's research is yet another example of how hard it is to make the healthier choice.

"Industry needs to ensure that wherever you are, it's just as easy to pick up a nutritious sandwich and some fruit as hotdog and fries."

The report made a number of recommendations to tourist attractions and caterers to break down the barriers to healthy eating.

These included offering a wider range of affordable and healthy options and using a traffic light labelling scheme to flag up how much salt, sugar and fat the food they sold contained.

nWhat do you think of theme park food? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter