New health campaign

A BRAND NEW campaign exposing the “hidden nasties” in everyday foods and helping people become “food smart” has been launched by the Department of Health.


The campaign, which comes on the back of new research showing that UK consumers still have limited knowledge about the foods they consume, will start with an “ad takeover” on ITV on January 7th.


The ad will run during Coronation Street and marks the next stage of the Change4Life programme, which has seen fuinding from central government removed with the commercial sector, charities and local authorities filling the gap. Asda, Quorn, Uncle Ben’s, the Co-operative Food and Cravendale will have ads in the coming weeks. There will also be a range of healthy eating tools available, including new recipes as well as money-off vouchers.


According to a new survey by Censuswide, almost half of consumers don’t know that a large takeaway pepperoni pizza has two times the recommended maximum daily intake of saturated fat.


Public health minister Anna Soubry said the campaign will aim to “make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use.”


The government has also been working with industry to cut sugar, salt and fat content through a Public Health Responsibility Deal. According to the latest figures, 64% of the catering sector have signed up to the salt pledges and many in the industry have welcomed the approach. At this stage, none appear to be involved in the “hidden nasties” campaign.


Campaigners and the Labour party are calling for tougher regulation to halt the rise in obesity, especially amongst children. The likes of Sustain have already questioned the progress of the Public Health Responsibility Deal and Andy Burnham, Labour shadow health secretary said the current approach is “clearly not working”.


He highlighted new research, published in recent weeks by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which shows that in the UK 26.6% of girls and 22.7% of boys are considered overweight or obese. Meanwhile, the National Child Measurement Programme last month reported that one third of children in England are either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.


This week Labour is publishing its policy review entitled “Children, food and obesity”. Burnham said: “The findings of the OECD should shock us out of our complacency. It is clear that the current voluntary approach is not working. We need to open our minds to new approaches in tackling child obesity.


“I don’t think that any parent would be comfortable with their child eating something that is 40 per cent sugar.?The government has failed to come up with a convincing plan to tackle this challenge. That is why Labour is calling for new thinking and why we’re initiating this discussion.”


England has one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe with over 60% of adults and a third of 10 and 11 year olds overweight or obese.


  • January’s issue of Footprint includes an insight from Sodexo corporate affairs director Phil Hooper on the Public Health Responsibility Deal and how it has provided industry with a new way of working with the government.