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Children's health and food
We joined over 25 innovative food brands, investors and business support providers in calling on the Government to reconsider the U-turn on restrictions of promotions of HFSS products.
On 17 May, the Government confirmed a delay to the implementation of restrictions on TV and online advertising and volume promotions of HFSS (high fat, salt or sugar) products. We worked with our partner Mission Ventures to draft a letter to the Prime Minister expressing our deep concern about the U-turn on children’s health.
These regulations would help innovative healthier products and companies to come to market and scale, and encourage existing corporate brands to accelerate healthier product innovation. Healthy options must be made available and affordable for everyone if we are to make positive steps forward to improve child health.
Over 25 innovative food brands, investors and business support providers joined us in calling on the Government to reconsider the U-turn. A short version of this letter originally appeared in The Times on 19 May.
The letter is shown in full below.
We are writing as representatives of innovative food brands, investors and business support providers to express our deep concern about the Government’s U-turn on children’s health.
We are the forward-thinking food industry that recognises the importance of affordable and healthy food for all, in line with the government’s original, world-leading obesity strategy. Scrapping regulation on multi-buys and junk food advertising undermines emerging innovation in our industry, while delays to these commitments enable big food and drink to continue swamping the public with unhealthy options, rather than setting the stage for healthier products and brands.
All children and families deserve the opportunity to be healthy. Child health has worsened over the pandemic to the point where 1 in 4 children leave primary school with obesity, and people who live in lower-income areas are twice as likely to be affected. We must act so the gap in health outcomes between the lowest and highest income households does not widen further. You are delaying policies that are both vital for levelling up and popular with 74% of the public.
We were excited by the strategy originally introduced by this government, which responded to the evidence showing that junk food advertising, store layouts, and special offers all end up shaping what’s in our bags and make it harder than it should be for families to eat healthily.
These regulations would help innovative healthier products and companies – like those we represent – to come to market and scale and encourage existing corporate brands to accelerate healthier product innovation.
By delaying and potentially scrapping the originally ambitious and evidence-based plans to improve the health of the food industry, you are allowing unhealthy brands to profit and flourish and worsening the obesity crisis. You have an opportunity to level the playing field, put healthier foods in the spotlight, and provide an incentive for more brands to innovate.
We know we are the future of food. As the industry moves toward a healthier and more sustainable future, we look to the government to help us to speed up this change. We desperately need solutions that rebalance food options, support progressive food companies, and make it easier for everyone to eat better, and we call on the government to champion this movement with us – not against us.
Mission Ventures and Impact on Urban Health
Andy Ratcliffe, Executive Director, Impact on Urban Health
Louis Bedwell, Managing Director, Mission Ventures
Stephen Muers, CEO, Big Society Capital
Marieke Syed, Founder, Snackzilla
Benjamin Whitehead, Founder, Spare Snacks
Rushina Shah, Founder, Insane Grain
Theadora Alexander, CEO, Young Foodies
Jeff Webster, Co-Founder, Hunter & Gather
Dr. Will Breakey, Josh Rose and Liam White, Co-founders, Dr. Wills
Michael Ingemann, Chairman, THINK Hospitality
Thomas Hal Robson-Kanu, Founder, CEO, The Turmeric Co.
Daniel Spayne, Managing Director, Equinox Kombucha
Jessica Harris, Founder, Little Bandits
Diana Babics, Founder, Nourish Awards
Jasper Smith, Founder, Vala Capital
Mark Sainsbury, Trustee Mark Leonard Trust, Co-founder Sustainable Restaurant Association
Jean de Fougerolles, Managing Partner, Ascension Ventures
Jess Mackenzie, Founder, Jess Cooks
Dean Dempsey, Founder, Naturelly
Sarah Smart, UK CEO, The Collective Dairy
Anthony Fletcher, Founder & CEO, Urban Legend
Jason Gibb, Founder, Bread & Jam
John Stapleton, Angel Investor, The Authentic Entrepreneur
Jagir Mankodi, Director, Superfoodio
Eve Yankah, Founder, Bepps
George Heler, Founder, Eatlean
Neill Sullivan, Founder, ANS Synergy
Franco Beer, Founder, BOKA
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