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ThiNKS Lecture: Anna Taylor OBE, Food Foundation

On Friday the 3rd May, Anna Taylor OBE, the executive director of the Food Foundation, came to our school to deliver a talk on how the foundation is making a difference to the lives of children. The Food Foundation is a relatively new and independent ‘think tank’, as Anna likes to call it, and they aim to change and improve food policies for the benefit everyone in the UK.  One of their current projects focusses on youths in education, especially for those in families of low income. They have carried out extensive research by travelling to different schools, and looking at the problems in individual cases, so that they can provide the best solution possible. This information is then fed back to the government through a detailed report, containing facts, figures and statistics from a wide variety of cases, allowing for accurate and suitable sustainable solutions.

A shocking statistic that she revealed to us was that ‘the poorest 10% of UK households would have to spend 74% of their disposable income on food to meet the Eatwell Guide costs’. This clearly highlighted the issue of the costs of healthy food, and how the higher price of healthier food resulted in families resorting to cheap, less nutritious meals and snacks. This accessibility to food was one of the issues we discussed.

Another issue that was discussed was the media, and how food is advertised. Often, our screens are crowded with advertisements for sugary drinks as well as sweet and savoury snacks, bringing us onto yet another concerning fact that ‘46% of food and drink advertising goes on confectionary, sweet and savoury snacks and soft drinks; while only 2.5% goes on fruit and vegetables’. This further emphasises how the constant advertising of unhealthy foods and lack of advertising for healthy produce leads most people into an unbalanced diet, possibly resulting in multiple negative effects such as obesity, heart disease, and even premature death.

These issues, as well as a variety of other concerning problems showed the Food Foundation that change was needed, and this change is already beginning. They’ve started tackling issues such as marketing and accessibility to nutritious food, as well as demanding immediate action from the government to make change.

If you would like to find out more about the Food Foundation and the changes that they aim to make, then please visit their website at ‘https://foodfoundation.org.uk/‘.

By Daniel Hope and Finn Kearns, year 10

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