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Dec 21, 2017 / Richard Hall

Themes for 2018 – obesity

I was drawn to two articles recently on consumer health:

• in The Sunday Times on 26th November about Coca-Cola

• in Food Manufacture on 4th December about UK Government policy.

New Coca-Cola Chief Executive James Quincey has heralded a change of approach. The ‘initial strategy to deflect blame by telling consumers there was lots of sugar in other goods or urging them to get more exercise was “a mistake … consumers don’t want to be lectured. If there’s a problem, you have to be in favour of something that is likely to lead to a solution …” He overturned opposition to traffic light warning labels on UK products. He also introduced smaller packages and more sugar-free Cokes.’ He still opposes soda taxes, because ‘when soda taxes are introduced, soda sales fall but consumers then choose substitutes that are often higher in calories, worsening obesity.’

Public Health England Director of Nutrition Dr Alison Tedstone said that, ‘while sugar has been the cornerstone of the obesity battle, … the issue can only be truly addressed by tackling the 75% of calories consumed in the UK that are not sugar-related … particularly the growing proportion of calories eaten out of the home.’ She added that: “Education is important … but it’s not going to solve the obesity problem … Most children know what they should be eating.”

Clearly, we all have a role to play.

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