Travelling food


Using a world map, chart how far supermarket foods have travelled using measuring and geography skills.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Maths, Art&DT, Geography, Social Studies

Learning objectives

  • Learn where food comes from
  • Locate countries on a map
  • Measure distances and relate findings to others


Ask children to bring one food product in its packaging from home.
Obtain a world map.

Check for any nut or other food allergies and omit these if necessary.


  • Supermarket food in original packaging including imported produce such as bananas
  • World map
  • String or coloured wool/labels/scissors/ruler
  • Paper and pencils

Step by step

  1. Look at the supermarket packaging and decide which foods have been imported or grown in the UK. Sort them into two groups.
  2. Using the world map, find the country of origin of the imported goods.
  3. Measure the distance between the UK and the country of origin using string or a ruler. Explain that this is a visual representation of how far the foods have travelled to be imported into the UK. 
  4. Record the results on a graph, chart or feedback to an other group. Think of other ways to share the results visually.
  5. Find out which food has travelled the furthest and discuss the environmental impact of this. Could this food be grown in the UK?

Hints & tips

  • Older children can research the actual distances between the UK and the countries of origin on the internet and then add up the total number of km travelled.  
  • For an extended activity, use foods which have more than one ingredient. 
  • Use this activity as part of Focus on Fruit and Supermarket Sweep class growing topic.

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