Bristol has welcomed the introduction of the Government’s Soft Drink Industry Levy which came in to effect last week (Friday 6 April) with a celebration of the work of the city’s Sugar Smart campaign.
The new policy will mean that producers of drinks containing over 5g of sugar per every 100mls will have to pay a levy to government. It’s been designed to encourage manufacturers to reduce the sugar content in their products and encourage consumers to move to healthier choices.
Bristol has been working hard over the last year to raise people’s awareness of how much sugar is in their food and drinks as part of the city’s Sugar Smart campaign which was launched by the city council in partnership with Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation.
Since the programme launched, partners from around the city have got involved to help spread the message and build the momentum towards a revolution in the way that people think about food.
The Sugar Smart Bristol team have been working with both universities to support the varsity season through a social media campaign with staying healthy messages.
Bristol Sport helped to launch the campaign back in January 2017 with 40,000 people at Ashton Gate Stadium hearing the sugar smart message and they continue to promote these messages to their fans.
Bristol Water have also helped by getting the message out to 500,000 households through their newsletter and taking the message to some of the city’s most popular local festivals using their award winning water bar.
Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for communities, said: “It is good that we are starting to see serious national action on this issue. In Bristol we have been working hard to build a momentum behind our aim to make sure people know what is in their food and drinks. By being better informed we hope that our residents will feel encouraged to make healthier choices.
“Combined with many supermarkets volunteering to restrict the purchase of high sugar energy drinks to under 16 year olds, the introduction of this levy will help to get the message across to people that too much sugar is proven to be bad for your health. I’d like to thank all the organisations who’ve been helping us to spread our message far and wide. I hope they will continue to support this work as we press on with the next chapter of our work to promote healthy weight.”
Bristol’s “Thirsty Eyes” campaign that was aimed at 15-24 years olds was created with input from members of the city’s Youth Council and received over 64,000 views during its run; over 70% of these views were by 18-24 year olds.
Many other organisations have also been a part of the campaign with support packs being sent to local dentists, Lloyds bank communicating key messages to their staff and two local creative design agencies giving their time for free to help make it a success. The city’s two hospital trusts are also on board and have been promoting how to be Sugar Smart to their 17,000 staff.
Teaching a City to Cook is the new campaign that was launched as part of the council’s work on the Sugar Smart campaign. The campaign features an educational programme developing cooking skills and is supported by local chefs including Josh Eggleton (from the Pony and Trap) and Adrian Kirikmaa from St Monica Trust and is open for schools, clubs and other organisations to use.
Children in years 6, 7 and 8 also have a chance to put their cookery skills into practice in the Young Cook Award 2018 competition which is currently open for nominations. To find out more about the programme and how to enter the city wide competition, head to the website (www.bristol.gov.uk/youngcooks).
Susan Milner, Bristol City Council’s Interim Director for Public Health said: “By giving our children the opportunity to learn about cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients we hope they will gain skills which will help them to lead healthy lives in the future. A healthy diet helps children focus and gives them energy throughout the day whilst also reducing their risk of developing health conditions later in life.
“Being Sugar Smart is about encouraging people to make healthier decisions themselves. In Bristol we are working with our partners to tackle the obesity rates in the city and take pressure off vital services. I’d like to thank our team for their hard work on this subject to unite the city on this issue.”
For more information on Sugar Smart Bristol visit www.sugarsmartbristol.co.uk.