Teenager Research

Teenager Research 2023: A Report on Young People's Perceptions of the Agri-Food Industry and Next Steps.

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As part of a Teenager Research project, LEAF Education, collaborating with The School of Sustainable Food and Farming and McDonalds have worked with over 2,500 young people (12-19 year’s old) from across the UK through online survey, on-farm work shops and culminated in a residential at Harper Adam’s University.

The aim of the research is to highlight to the agri-food industry what young people believe, think and are motivated by across four key themes:

1. Sustainable Food Production

What does this mean to young people, do they want sustainable food, what do they believe the agri-food industry are doing to be sustainable, do they believe brands and supermarkets but sustainability at the heart of what they offer to consumers?

2. Conscious Consumers

How do our future generation buy food, what do they think about when purchasing, what is important to them, are the consciously consuming, or should they?

3. Diversity and Inclusivity

Is the agri-food industry inclusive? How is the industry diverse, could it do better? What are the barriers and opportunities for those wishing to enter and those that have never had the opportunity to learn about how to enter our industry?

4. Careers

Are young people interested in a career in the agri-food industry – do they know how to enter? Have they ever had any information? What are their perceptions of a career in the agri-food industry?

The young people working alongside LEAF Education Consultants, Harper Adams Senior Lecturers and McDonalds Progressive Young Farmers have sought clear actions for the agri-food industry to follow.

Ultimately LEAF will convene and lead over the coming years to ensure industry listen to these young people and empower them to be informed consumers, able to enter industry, raise the profile to provide diverse and inclusive opportunities for all in society and to ensure that sustainability is shown as a clear priority to the agri-food industry so as to ensure it aligns with wider society’s asks.

The research follows on from LEAF Education’s first piece of pioneering research took place in 2018 with 1,200 young people across the UK which provided some great insights into young people and the first of its kind for the Agricultural Industry – we saw 66% of young people keen to enter our industry but only 4% ever having had any information on how to do that.

It led to young people becoming actively involved in our future direction as an organisation and a showcase to industry to listen.

These results had clear actions of which LEAF have delivered against:

National Competition for 14 to 16-year-olds

Now in its sixth year with 66% of those that attended the 2022 competition going on to land based college and university.

Network of Demonstration Schools

LEAF Education have now launched XX Demonstration Schools across England, developing more links with the agricultural industry.

An annual celebration of farming in school: ‘Farming Fortnight’

We have reached over 3.5 million members of the public and thousands of young people in schools. With one of our joyful hashtags (#Oink!) even making an appearance on an episode of BBC Countryfile.


Encouraging the agricultural industry to engage with those aged over 12, especially to deliver career education in-school and on-farm settings (rather than solely at career events held in exhibition spaces). Around 40% of LEAF Education’s work is now delivered with secondary age students. Plus the development of #FarmMyFood – on-farm business, food and career sessions for hundreds of GCSE students.

Timeline of the research:

Photography credit: Harper Adams