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Food industry giants to take lead on healthy-eating campaign

8 July 2010

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Government spending on healthy-eating campaigns will be scaled back and food and beverage firms such as Mars, Cadbury and Coca-Cola will be invited to take on a bigger role, the health secretary has said.

Andrew Lansley revealed that industry giants will take a more hands-on approach in attempts to tackle soaring obesity rates and he said they will be released from the “burden of regulation” in order to do it.

The move specifically relates to the Change4Life campaign which was launched with £75m of government funding, to be spread over three years, in January 2009.

Cadbury, Unilever, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Kraft, Mars, Nestle and PepsiCo have already been involved, alongside Britvic and supermarket Tesco.

But now this will increase and other private companies will be asked to jump onboard.

Mr Lansley told public health workers at the Faculty of Public Health conference in central London that the government would be “progressively scaling back the proportion of taxpayers’ money spent on Change4Life.”

He said commercial companies selling foods such as chocolate, crisps and soft drinks did not want the public to see their products as “harmful” but as something that could be incorporated into healthy diets.

Talking about good food or bad food just closes companies out, he said, adding that people needed to take more responsibility for their own health.

It is “perfectly possible to eat a bag of crisps, to eat a Mars bar, to drink a carbonated soft drink” as long as it is in moderation, he said.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

Department of Health