U.K food makers told to cut calories by 20%



  • debrag12
    debrag12 Posts: 1,071 Member
    edited March 2018
    Froggyh wrote: »
    fr33sia12 wrote: »
    The_Ta wrote: »
    To the Gwyneth Paltrow’s of the group...

    Low-income individuals often do not access to fresh foods. Grocery stores may not be in the area, so they eat what is available in the convenience stores or cheap restaurants. They may not have a car, or public transportation makes getting around difficult. Then you have those that work long hours, spend even more time getting too and from work that quick food is really the only option.

    Poverty is much more complicated than being lazy.

    You can get an online food delivery for £1 which is less than the bus fare to go to a supermarket, so location shouldn't be a problem. Doing one big shop a month you could stock up on frozen or tinned fruit and veg, food cupboard essentials like rice, pasta, beans etc A lot of people just don't want to put the effort into it.

    Where do you live that you can get food delivery for £1? When I looked into it a few years ago it was closer to £10.

    And then when you do order you have to book a 4-hour window for delivery, and there's not often great selection, which makes it much harder for people with inconsistent work schedules.

    Delivery can be £1-4 with a 2 hr time slot. For £5 a month with Asda you get as many deliveries at you want and all with 1 hr time slots. I never see a £25 min spend though only £40

    It's more convenient to go to the local store than spend a few £ to travel to a cheaper supermarket.

  • Terebynthia
    Terebynthia Posts: 75 Member
    edited March 2018
    I think somebody asked up thread what it's like for people in very rural communities in the UK - I'll bite, as I live in the Welsh Marches, just this side of the English border, in an area that's probably one of the more remote outside certain areas in Cumbria and probably Northumberland. In Scotland there are more remote areas (and certainly areas which have issues with supply of fresh veg).

    For me, the nearest place to buy a pint of milk or any food item at all is a 13 mile round trip (it's a reasonably well stocked Costcutter but I would be pushed to do a weekly shop there, and certainly it would be expensive - they are good at stocking local products though), and the nearest supermarket is 25 miles (I realise some folk in the US will now be laughing, but bear with me, this is remote in the populous UK).

    In terms of online shopping and delivery I have Tesco (who are also the nearest supermarket) - delivery plan here https://www.tesco.com/DeliverySaver/. It's been a long time since I have used Tesco but I seem to remember £1 delivery midweek on a £40 order was available without plan. I use Sainsbury's (my delivery comes from Hereford which would be an 80 mile round trip for me, and certainly my delivery plan is cheaper than the petrol costs even excluding the time I would spend in the shop and the money I would waste from unneeded bogofs etc.). Their midweek pass is £30 a year which is quite a bit cheaper than Tesco but you are locked in for a year. I have an anytime pass at £60 but I presume the cheaper pass also has a £40 minimum spend as mine does. I am aware Asda also will deliver to me, but I haven't used them and people have talked about Asda already.

    In addition, I have a Lidl at a 25 miles round trip and an Aldi at a 60 mile round trip. They are definitely cheaper for some things but probably not enough to justify the extra trip. I tend to use them once a year for their excellent Christmas offerings. The whole Serrano ham from Lidl at £30 is a bargain in particular - but not one you could trivially do if on a significant weekly budget, which is a shame as you would get an enormous amount of meals out of it.

    I'm fortunate to not be on a mega food budget but if I were I would comparison shop at Asda and Tesco (Tesco I know it's much easier to use your loyalty points as it is trivial to add them to your shop, so it would be an easy supermarket to save points for Christmas etc, Sainsbury's I feel is better quality but is slightly more expensive and uses Nectar which is a pain in the bum to redeem. I've never used Asda) and then use the one that worked best. If I had access to transport and the spare cash for a volume order I might bulk buy at Lidl or Aldi, and would work with others to see if we could combine resources for a loo roll / cat food / bulk order shop at the least.

    For a first person insight into UK food poverty I will always recommend Jack Monroe's blog, particularly the early posts (their cookbooks are very good, too). It's a great source of price per portion cheap recipes too. Just ignore their politics if it's not your thing. https://cookingonabootstrap.com/category/blog/

    Even in my local 3000 population town we have a food bank.

    Edit: if I were really broke in this environment and lived in my local town I would definitely befriend the excellent local butcher who is actually much cheaper than the supermarket (I use several local butchers as well as the local box schemes but the box schemes would be out of reach for someone on a budget due to the initial outlay, sadly, as it's about half the price of the supermarket for much better quality organic meat with no food miles), use the fantastic local eggs from the farm in town which are half the price of the eggs I get from the supermarket and much better quality, and have an allotment. We are also close to Herefordshire and potato country, and it would be worth teaming together with other folk in the same situation to get 25kg sacks of spuds from the farms. Nets of swedes (rutabagas) go around in season too.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,987 Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    NOT saying I'm against public health initiatives like that, just skeptical of how useful they will be.

    Well, other than MFP, what I now think I know has come from Canadian, US, UK, and Brazilian government public education intitiatives. With a sprinking of WHO plus New Zealand and Australian government information plus information from a few NGOs (heart and stroke foundations in some of the previously mentioned countries, for example).
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
    edited March 2018
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    So back to the topic:
    So going back to the latest addition to PHE guidance, there are two main components. The first is the headline grabber of intrusive government directing private businesses, the second being the recommendations on how to balance calorie intake through the day. I'd say the latter is more important.

    PHE do promote the general DH recommendations of 2kcal/ 2.4kcal per day for women/ men, with a floor of 1.2kcal/ 1.6kcal for health. They've now added to that by suggesting a breakdown of 400/ 600/ 600 in main meals. You'll note that it then leaves somewhere between 400 and 800 discretionary calories. by it's nature it's very generic advice. They don't get into macro balance, although other elements of PHE guidance encourage intake of fruit/ veg and limitations on fats/ alcohols/ salt and sugar.

    For what it's worth, depending on how the regulations/encouragement of the food industry works, I'm not much bothered by that bit (I am skeptical about how useful it will be, but open enough to the idea that it might be that I'm willing for the UK to be a test case). I would be bothered by certain methods, but it seems like it's been more "we want you to do this" kind of encouragement rather than actual legislation so far. But that's where I don't know much about how it works.

    This is the area that I'm least comfortable. Our government tends towards the interventionist, very driven by tabloid headlines. Whilst PHE is an Arms Length Body the underlying issue is affordability of the NHS. It's clear that prevention and protection is lower cost than treatment, but it's much more difficult to actually achieve. We're into that eternal tension in liberalism, the balance between individual personal responsibility and paternalism.
    What I found not the direct topic of the thread, but more objectionable when I read the Guardian article itself, was the part you are talking about here. I think the idea that everyone should have a set calorie aim for specific meals is just neither accurate nor realistic (even apart from the fact that not everyone has a similar calorie goal).

    This is very much the challenge of public communication, on a public sector budget. It also plays into behaviour around choice, and nuance. We see exceptionalism in here, complete with a small number of pet conspiracy theorists. The fact that there is enough demand for Gluten Free for it to fill an aisle at the supermarket shows us that lots of people will blame something medical for their weight gain. Whilst I have some discomfort around the 400/ 600/ 600 balance, and indeed the 2000/ 2400 guidance, I recognise that I'm not really in the target market for the material.

    It's entry level information, the supporting material is more comprehensive, but lots of people aren't going to go much further than a tri-fold. You and I are aware that change requires the will to change. Building that will involves drip feeding information, raising questions and opening alternatives. People aren't going to respond to preaching, but they do tend to respond to the nudge.

    PHE was established under the coalition government, with the Tory PM having been in the PR industry prior to entering politics. The majority government were tempered by their liberal partners, with those principles being key to the liberal philosophies really for the last 100 years. That's one of the things that led to their prevent/ protect agenda being structured the way it is; the nudge.
    I would agree that people not knowing what a reasonable calorie amount is, is an issue, and I think the MyPlate initiative in the US tries to give an estimate (but no one knows about that here). Not sure if the initiative that we are discussing gets more public attention than similar things in the US, quite possibly. But that would be the weakness in what I see as the public education element (even apart from my thinking that 400/600/600 is a bad one-size-fits-all-women idea). Most of what MyPlate promotes is, IMO, good sense, but people either don't know about it or don't care (those who tend to follow health advice don't become more likely to because the gov't makes the advice).

    NOT saying I'm against public health initiatives like that, just skeptical of how useful they will be.

    There has been a similar thread of public information using that model as well. As a means of articulating both volume/ calories and food group distribution. Again a little one size fits all, but it promotes thinking about the topic.

    I think this is where the biggest difference between UK and US comes up. With a free at the point of consumption health service there is a captive market at the primary health care point of delivery. GPs clinics have a lot of the material available, and GPs use it. It's promoted at ante and post natal classes, and community health nurses deliver weight loss clinics as well as various other types of activity. It's worth recognising that some segments aren't regulars, and by the time they are, they're probably already exhibiting poor habits, but women are key influencers in that sense.

    Even the majority of those with private provision will go to NHS primary care for a first consultation, before referral. My own health insurance doesn't kick in until I've done that.

    Whilst that primary care capture is a good thing, it's also a bad thing. Clinics are a contracted service, essentially privately owned businesses, that are funded based on patient population, rather than outcomes. So that can mean in some cases that they're driven to maximise numbers. Commissioning bodies do have choices, but the General Medical Council and British Medical Association have disproportionate power in health delivery and that's led to some systemic structural issues in the market.

    One of the big challenges that PHE have is that it's incredibly difficult to demonstrate success. If we're seeing a reduction in obesity is it because of them or is there something else? The British economy is dismal at the moment, particularly after the Brexit referendum, so economic factors aren't stable enough to discount as a significant contribution. You can't even point to something like food deserts, although some of the rural challenges are articulated upthread. I live in a different rural area, near one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the UK. We have a high diversity in food sourcing options, alongside extremes of economic situation. I do feel that PHE are damned by both government and the media, regardless of what they do.

  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    NOT saying I'm against public health initiatives like that, just skeptical of how useful they will be.

    Well, other than MFP, what I now think I know has come from Canadian, US, UK, and Brazilian government public education intitiatives. With a sprinking of WHO plus New Zealand and Australian government information plus information from a few NGOs (heart and stroke foundations in some of the previously mentioned countries, for example).

    That's encouraging. I tend to follow that stuff, but get the sense that that's rare. People would rather go with hot new diet doctor.
  • thegeordielass
    thegeordielass Posts: 208 Member
    I get that bit. :) The only stuff I buy monthly is annoyingly bulky but light stuff such as toilet roll/cleaning products.
    I was just responding to the trying to get things home with several bus changes etc. That bit is completely possible.
    Grocery home delivery here is not "pretty cheap." And the cheapest options that are available are only that cheap because it's an app-based service (like Uber for groceries) that totally exploits the workers, so to get the cheap delivery, you have to be OK with not adequately tipping someone who isn't even getting paid enough to cover the gas they're using to deliver the food to you.

    Home delivery here is done via the supermarket websites/apps and having had a sister who worked in the home shopping department for 3 years, I can assure you that everyone is paid the living wage (if that's enough or not is an entirely different subject). The groceries are delivered in the home delivery vans which are owned and run by the supermarkets. Nobody needs to pay for any petrol or get tips themselves (I don't think I ever heard my sister say anyone ever got a tip - not really a thing here and as there's a minimum living wage all employers have to pay, not needed like I gather it is for waitressing in the US). Things must be very different in other countries.

    This isn't true in the USA tho which you keep failing to understand. This is why you have to stop generalizing that your reality can measure against anothers. That's what people do when they assume everyone can eat healthy or that its easy for them to do so. Actually, a poster child for the exact opposite of your beliefs.

    I haven't failed to grasp anything. I was merely describing how the UK system ("my reality") for home shopping was different to the American one you seemed to be describing. That's not measuring it and judging, it's just informing how things are different in our countries (and I guess in return saying you can't put your reality on our reality - every country is different and have different rules/values/beliefs/systems etc which our own won't apply to).
    I'm not entirely sure why it upset you as at no point have I made any assumptions about anyone's ability to eat healthily.
  • Orphia
    Orphia Posts: 7,097 Member

    I think it would serve better if people were educated in portion sizes and learn to know calories in foods in general and how much their bodies need to maintain their weight. Also if portion sizes in restaurants/cafes were kept more realistic too - people in general don't seem to know what a normal portion size should be.

    IMO knowledge of the amount of calories leads to overall better choices (its the reason I have been maintaining an almost 30lbs weight loss for 5 years).

    How about both?

    Smaller portion sizes in restaurants, smaller serving sizes in snacks and meals in supermarkets AND education on calories?



    Subsidizing the right foods, and taxing the wrong ones
    A 2012 release from the US Public Interest Research Group determined that government subsidization of treat-food additives pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer per year, but those same taxpayers only get half an apple paid for. There is something seriously wrong with that math. Making healthy food less expensive and treat food more expensive can go a long way to improve eating habits.

    Placing tighter restrictions on food labeling
    The average consumer is easily fooled; they don’t understand how often they are misled by food corporations via tactics such as “health washing” (also called nutritionism): making an unhealthy food seem healthy by promoting a certain ingredient it contains. Sorry, but macaroni and cheese from a box where the noodles are made from hyper-refined cauliflower is just as bad for you as the regular kind, and just because the cereal with the cartoon character on the front says it is made with whole grains doesn’t mean it makes for a healthy breakfast. And we’re supposed to believe that Fruity Pebbles are healthy because they have added Vitamin D? Come on!

    Corporations also mess around with their labeling so they include four different types of sugar to keep sugar from being listed as the first ingredient.

    Restricting food advertising to children
    Again, it will require government intervention to do this, just like they did with smoking. Right now it’s the Wild West, where anything goes. Food advertising to children of unhealthy treats is over the top. Not only that, but it’s all about making food fun. Food that tattoos your tongue, is shaped like bugs, has cartoon promotion … and don’t forget about the movie partnerships with fast food restaurants. You can’t get the latest Avengers toy unless you buy the kids’ meal at the burger joint, and all their sports and movie heroes are chugging Coke these days, so if you want to be like them, just drink this sugar water.

    Stop corporate-government partnerships and rein in lobbying
    The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) is funded by myriad food companies such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Kellogg’s, and the National Restaurant Association is a strategic partner to promote the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) “MyPlate” (which replaced the “food pyramid” in 2011). Restaurants, like food corporations, are also vested in repeat business, which means making food taste great, which translates to “irresistible and high in calories.” Having an association whose raison d’être is to promote the interests of restaurants partner with the USDA on guidelines for how Americans should eat is ludicrous.

    These are just a couple of examples. The dairy industry has a long history of influencing the food pyramid, and Coca-Cola is very active in lobbying government to keep regulations lax around the sale of sugar water.

    Revamp home economics in school, and make it mandatory
    Cooking at home using fresh ingredients purchased from a grocery store is a powerful tool for battling obesity. My kids had the option to take home-ec, and mostly what they learned how to make was cookies and cinnamon buns. Here is a better approach.

    Place tighter controls on the weight loss industry
    As I pointed out in this piece, the weight loss industry is so full of crap its eyes are brown. Outlandish weight loss scams run rampant, making it the #1 form of fraud in the US many years running. Consumers are brainwashed into believing the quick and easy miracle cure from people such as Dr. Oz, and so rational and evidence-based approaches to weight loss (the kind that actually work) have a hard time reaching the public through all the noisy snake oil.

    Stop promoting physical activity as the solution for weight loss
    While exercise can play an important role in sustained weight loss, much of the messaging that persists gives a false impression that it is possible for you to outrun your fork. The amount of exercise it takes to compensate for poor dietary choices is impossible for most people.

    Create better access to evidence-based weight management programs
    “Better access” means government funding. It’s a worthwhile investment that will not only decrease healthcare costs, but also improve productivity, as obesity is shown to have a negative effect on workplace productivity.

    Create national advertising campaigns that promote healthier eating
    Some campaigns exist, but they could be done better, and they could be done more. Like with smoking cessation, the message needs to be hammered home again and again.

    Make prejudice against people with obesity against the law
    As it stands, we have laws to prevent prejudice against people based on race, religion, gender and sexual orientation, but no laws exist to protect the obese against unfair treatment. The reality is that shaming and mistreatment of the obese has the opposite of the intended effect; it leads to weight gain, not weight loss.

    Create greater access to bariatric surgery
    Weight loss surgery has by far the highest success rate of any kind of weight loss intervention, but it is hard for the public to get access to it. The risks are low and the rewards are high, and surgical techniques are being improved all the time. Read more about bariatric surgery in this article of mine.

    Continue research into weight loss pharmaceuticals
    Pharmaceutical intervention hasn’t shown a lot of promise yet, but improvements are being made and one day it could prove to be an effective treatment for sustaining a reduced body weight that in turn makes people healthier. The greatest thing about drug interventions is that while you can’t give millions of people bariatric surgery, you can put millions on an effective and relatively safe weight loss drug.