Feed Britain Better Report: The Impact Of Covid 19 On Young People's Eating Habits
The Feed Britain Better report draws on extensive research by a powerful coalition of organisations into the impact of Covid-19 on teen eating habits; the change they want to see; and the solutions they believe pave the way for a healthier future.
The coalition took multiple approaches to ensuring authentic representation of the views and vision of young people. These included:
- a survey of 1,000 people aged 14-19 across England from May to June 2020
- a 6 week programme of events with over 60 Youth Leaders exploring and shaping the solutions
- a week-long digital ethnographic immersion into the lives of 30 young people
- a series of visioning workshops with 12 additional young people
- a youth panel of 8 who have been shaping the project from the start
The 5 asks in the report call for change across highstreets, schools and screens that would result in all children having equal access to healthy, nutritious food. With each ask come a number of recommendations. They are:
1: WILL YOU PROVIDE FREE SCHOOL MEALS FOR EVERY YOUNG PERSON WHO NEEDS THEM DURING THE HOLIDAYS by extending the holiday activity and food programme so every child gets a decent meal all year round?
Despite the Rashford task force, as the report is published there is still no long term solution and the Government has just days to ensure provision over October half term for 1.4 million children eligible for Free School Meals at a time when many families are desperately struggling to get by.
2: WILL YOU MAKE HEALTHIER OPTIONS MORE AFFORDABLE THAN UNHEALTHIER OPTIONS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by:
- Offering us a 20% discount on healthy food with an Eat Well to Say Well initiative - The Eat Out to Help Out scheme made a big difference to kickstarting hospitality post lock-down and demonstrated the importance of price. However the scheme did not help improve the health of British people. We propose adapting and extending it to support young people to buy healthier options in restaurants and at retailers.
- Supporting innovative technology solutions like the SMASH app - SMASH is an early stage discount app targeted at the 9 million 13-24 year olds living in the UK. It is a simple technology solution that can work across supermarkets, fast food retailers, and restaurants to shine a light on and discount healthier items and provide rewards, creating a wave of demand for healthier food. SMASH has a strong team. Chris Holmes was on the Board of KFC and before starting SMASH was Managing Director of ASK Italian. Paul Lindley, SMASH’s Chairman, founded Ella’s Kitchen and is Chairman of the Mayor of London’s Childhood Obesity Taskforce.
3: WILL YOU ENSURE YOUNG PEOPLE SEE HEALTHIER OPTIONS PROMOTED AS THE NORM ON DIGITAL by committing to stop advertising high, fat, salt, sugar foods online now.
Given young people’s experience of HFSS advertising during lockdown we are concerned about the long timeframe the Government’s Obesity Plan is proposing for legislation and urge them to step up the pace. In the meantime we ask companies to unilaterally commit to ending advertising HFSS foods online immediately.
4: WILL YOU HELP MAKE WATER THE GO-TO DRINK FOR YOUNG PEOPLE?
We need to make water easy and attractive. That means every young person having a bottle that they can refill at no cost and a campaign to make water more attractive than soft drinks.
5: WILL YOU HELP CREATE SOCIAL SPACES THAT FULFIL YOUNG PEOPLE’S SOCIAL NEEDS.
For young people their world is hyperlocal. It's the high street, the walk home from school, the local park. In the absence of these public safe spaces, young people turn to commercial options, which often means fast food outlets or dessert bars. They are safe, have wifi, you can stay as long as you like and only spend £1.50. Young people report missing the social space more than the food. As we emerge from Covid can we create youth spaces where young people want to go, but which are not fast food joints?
To download the full report, click here