Jamie Oliver has spent a good portion of his culinary career campaigning to improve the quality of food people in the UK consume. Whether from his controversial move to remove unhealthy meals from schools in Jamie’s School Dinners, or his Ministry of Food campaign, Oliver has made a name for himself as a defining figure in health-focused drives. Oliver has now however turned his attention to sugar, with many restaurant chains ready to join his most recent venture – the children’s health fund (CHF).
The CHF, created in August by Oliver, has been working in conjunction with campaign group Sustain, who are petitioning the government with the aim of making a 10p tax on sugary drinks commonplace across all restaurants in the UK. Oliver recently introduced the 10p levy on his 41 ‘Jamie’s Italian’ restaurants around the country, with the profits to go towards the CHF, who will in turn fund new healthy initiatives within schools.
Many health-oriented chains such as Abokado have recently registered interest in the scheme, which Oliver hopes will provide over £50,000 towards healthy eating schemes within schools over the next 12 months. Other chains that have signed up include Leon, Union Jacks and Fifteen, the latter of which created by Oliver himself. But will the levy work?
Both France and Mexico have introduced sugar taxes in recently years, and in doing so Mexico managed to lower the sales of sugary drinks by 6% over the course of 2014, according to the CHF. They also note how the levy had the biggest effect on low-income families – those who often opt for ‘cheap’ fast-food alternatives as a time/money saver.
The petition is currently over the 60,000 mark, and looks like it will soon break through the 100,000 signature mark needed for the government to consider the proposal. With claims that “a tax of just 7p per regular-sized can of soft drink with added sugar could generate £1 billion per year”, it would appear a no brainer for the government to at least give strong consideration towards Oliver’s most recent proposal.