This year we have already seen a ‘sugar tax’ be implemented and now celebrity chef and health-freak Jamie Oliver is talking about having cartoons banned from cereal boxes. Have things gone too far? Where do we draw the line? Is food at fault? Well I’m going to write about my views on the matter.
Personally, I think Jamie Oliver has far too much time on his hands. Get a hobby, seriously. Yes what he’s doing is quite admirable, he cares so much for the nations children and he’s using his celebrity status for the greater good. Well done. But what I disagree with is removing certain foods, or putting a tax on them, or changing packaging whilst this pompous a*****e continues to charge £12-£19 for each of his books. If you care so bloody much about the health of our children why aren’t you providing the tools a lot of parents need for an affordable price. If you provided parents with your books for say £3-£4 a book, full of meals that are cheap and easy to make that would have a greater effect on the nations health. What he’s doing is great and I won’t ever deny that, however, the way in which he’s doing it is wrong. If you care so much then sacrifice a bit of your profit from these books, and give people the tools to make better choices. Yes they can easily do this themselves by looking for recipes online but; if you campaigned appropriately you could give people everything they need for a healthier lifestyle without taking away the small joys of the world.
Ultimately all of his efforts are a huge waste of time because it all comes down to choice. Last year cigarettes were put up in price, small packets were removed, and all packaging was made completely generic. They also feature a gruesome image of what smoking can cause, and menthol cigarettes are set to be banned in 2020. Did these changes stop people smoking? No. Maybe some people did quit but I haven’t heard of any cigarette/tobacco companies going bust in the U.K. so clearly the amount of smokers is still significant enough to give profit to said companies. The reason I mention this is because it’s going to be exactly the same for sugary and fatty foods. Jamie has talked about how he wants cartoons to be removed from cereal packaging to stop them enticing children, however, if changes in packaging and prices didn’t stop smokers from smoking then I doubt that similar changes to food will stop childhood obesity. After all a bowl of Frosties is far more pleasurable than a packet of cigarettes. People will choose to eat what they enjoy regardless of price and packaging, and often people don’t have the right knowledge to replace these foods with healthier ones therefore will just choose to pay extra for what they know and love. You can change prices and packaging but it all comes down to whether you can change peoples choices and unfortunately prices and packaging won’t change peoples choices.
What baffles me most, is a lot of parents don’t take their children shopping with them. So the cartoons on the packaging isn’t going to make the world of difference. And even if they do take their child they have the ability to say no if they are concerned for their child’s health. This still boils down to the ADULT’S choice, and I’m sure their decision won’t be based on whether it has a cartoon on the box.
In conclusion I think Jamie Oliver’s schemes are a complete waste of time and are taking the small joys of the world. At 20 years of age if I want to buy myself a bottle of coke for £1, I think I should be allowed to. Why should I be charged above the odds because of childhood obesity? It’s not my fault. Moreover it’s not the child’s fault, 9 times out of 10 it comes down the parent. Putting up prices and changing packaging is completely pointless if you’re not going to educate the parents on healthier choices for their children. They’re still going to choose the things they’re familiar with because nowadays they don’t know the better options. Perhaps instead of wasting all this time and money campaigning to have luxuries inaccessible for everyone why not focus on educating parents and children on their choices. Slowly but surely we will have no freedom in terms of luxury foods, and I hate to break it to you Jamie but you can’t ban every food you think is unhealthy. Teach people how to cook simple healthy meals and to have sweet things in moderation.
“Nothing brings people together like good food.”