The British are known for many things. Delicious cuisine is not exactly one of them. Now, though, the British government is cracking down on tastier food in an effort to reduce the caloric intake of its citizens.
Obesity Declared an Epidemic in British Kids
According to Public Health England, obesity is epidemic in British kids, so the country is being forced to take drastic action. How bad is it? According to Public Health England, at least one in three British children are “either overweight or obese” by the time the graduate primary school.
The regulators are asking food companies to slash the amounts of salt, sugar, and fat in their foods. PHE explained the decision in a recent statement:
“Ready meals, pizzas, burgers, savory snacks, and sandwiches are the kinds of foods likely to be included in the program.”
According to program planners, these cuts would not just involve meals in schools. Grocers, coffee shops, and even fast food joints will be expected to make changes. But, if these companies make or sell high-fat, high-sugar or high-salt products, how can they make them have less of each and still taste the way customers expect?
The current solution being floated is smaller portion sizes. Less of the same food, rather than a less tasty version of the same amount of food.
Efforts Need to Be Expanded
However, children’s health advocates say these efforts are not nearly good enough. They say cutting the amount of “bad” ingredients isn’t enough to help kids get healthy. Instead, they should replace these foods completely with good-tasting but healthier options.
And that’s where the battle lines of public opinion are really being drawn. While government agencies are arguing over making minor changes, the consumer public, especially parents in the United States and Great Britain, are looking at school lunches in other countries, and they are not pleased. Kids in other countries, at least according to what people can quickly and easily “research” online, are eating much better in many other countries. Not only healthier but much tastier.
Because kids develop eating habits early in life, these parents believe their children deserve better. So, when the government is drawing a line one place, and the consumer public is drawing a completely different line, how do they all come together to do what’s best for the kids? This is a question food regulators on both sides of the Atlantic should be asking. Parents are getting more involved, looking deeper into what’s happening with their kids and food … and they don’t like what they see.
All brands responsible for making food for kids will have to deal with these questions and concerns sooner or later. They need to have their messaging on point, and they need to be ready … otherwise, they, like many food companies in Britain, could be facing a potential PR crisis.