Sugar Smart is coming to Exeter
Posted on: 20 January 2017
An ambitious campaign to help towns and cities across the UK tackle the amount of sugar we all consume and provide healthier alternatives, is coming to Exeter this month.
Sugar Smart UK is a campaign led by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Sustain, who are supporting the Exeter Food Network to launch locally as Sugar Smart Exeter.
The campaign will support food and drink retail outlets in the city to raise awareness and reduce the amount of sugar customers consume by making a pledge and create a food environment that makes it easier for people to make healthier food and drink choices.
The campaign aims to promote healthy alternatives and reduce unhealthy food and drink, particularly those high in ‘free’ sugar – added sugar and sugary products such as honey and fruit juice.
The recommended daily intake of free sugar is a maximum of 7 teaspoons for adults and a maximum of 5-6 teaspoons for children. However, on average adults are currently eating twice this amount and children eating three times as much.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for public health, said: “This campaign recognises that although many people are aware of free sugar and are trying to take steps to eat a healthier diet, the food environment does not always encourage these healthy choices.
“Sugar Smart Exeter is calling on organisations to make Sugar Smart pledges to make it easier for people to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
Pledges can include making tap water readily available, introducing a voluntary sugary drinks levy through the Children’s Health Fund, reducing promotions on sugary food, introducing healthier options or simply redesigning food displays.
Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive of Sustain, said: “We’re fully behind Exeter’s ambitions to become a Sugar Smart city. The scale of challenge that diet-related disease poses to our country means we need a new approach. We need to move beyond focusing on individual responsibility and look more at the environment that people live in.
“Sugar Smart is a way for communities to take control and work with their local businesses and institutions, challenging them to make the commitments needed to tackle the burden that diet-related disease has on society.”
This campaign complements the Change4Life Be Food Smart campaign, which launched at the beginning of January and encourages individuals to download the new Be Food Smart app to find out how much sugar, fat and salt is hidden in our food.
Dr Virginia Pearson, Devon County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “The amount of sugar in our food is becoming an increasing issue as obesity levels soar and regularly consumed products are increasingly outed for the amount of sugar they contain.
“Sugary drinks in particular are of great concern as they can contain incredibly high amounts of sugar and little other nutritional goodness.
“The introduction of the Government’s sugary drinks levy in 2018 will, I hope, encourage drinks companies to reformulate their recipes to reduce sugar content, and campaigns like Sugar Smart Exeter give food producers and retailers an important role to play in improving the health of their local communities.”
Cllr Phil Bialyk, Exeter City Council’s Lead Councillor for Sport and Health & Wellbeing, said: “I’ve no doubt that Sugar Smart Exeter can make a difference in helping people change habits and make healthy choices for the future. We’re confident that Exeter is on its way to becoming the most active city in the South West. People in the city have got behind the ethos of sport and activity and I am sure they will back this initiative to make Exeter a healthier city and reduce the overall intake of sugar.”
Exeter residents are being asked for their views on the campaign by taking part in a survey with the chance to win a prize, including tickets to watch Exeter City Football Club, vegetable boxes and food vouchers. To take part in the survey visit www.exeter.gov.uk/sugarsmart.