We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to make healthy food choices.
Higher welfare describes systems where animals are given access to light, certified feed, certain space allocations and environmental enrichment. Higher-welfare farming systems can be indoor, outdoor, or free-range. They will always include lower-stocking densities and facilities for the animals to exhibit their natural behaviours, which we believe produces a better and more humane product.
Organic means no pesticides and artificial chemicals are used. Although it doesn’t refer to welfare, organic systems usually provide very good living standards for animals – using organic feed and slower-growing breeds. Organic products often have higher prices, as the feed and extra living space can be costly for producers. We always encourage people to trade up to organic if and when they can.
We believe there’s a place for all types of food in our diets – it’s all about balance. We recognise that eating out is a time when some of us want to indulge, but we also make sure there are plenty of healthier options on our menus. In fact, 35% of our restaurant dishes are within the green or amber colour-coded scale for saturated fat, salt and sugar, and we publish all the nutrition information for our menus online.
We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to make an informed choice. We publish detailed nutrition info for all our recipes online. We strive to ensure the majority of new dishes we develop are super-tasty and meet our nutrition standards for ‘everyday’ foods – this means we measure the amount of calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt, and we make sure they contribute towards a daily veg and fruit intake wherever possible. As a rule, we aim to promote a balance of 70% everyday and 30% occasional dishes, across our platforms. Find out more about our nutrition standards in our Food Ethos section.
Also called the sugar tax, this levy is a move for good that ultimately aims to reduce excessive sugar in soft drinks. The real significance is that it’s a tax on the manufacturer – and most makers of sugary drinks have reformulated their recipes as a result; nearly 50% of soft drinks brands have reduced sugar in their products to avoid the tariff. Plus, any money that is raised from the sugar tax is ring-fenced to fund breakfast clubs in disadvantaged areas and school sports.
Soft drinks are the biggest source of sugar in the diets of children and teenagers in the UK – and they have no nutritional value. Many cans of soft drink contain around 10 teaspoons of ‘free’ sugars (these don’t include natural sugar from milk products or whole fruits), which is above the maximum daily ‘free’ sugars recommendation for adults! These drinks contribute to an increased risk of tooth decay, weight gain and other diet-related diseases, such as type-2 diabetes.
Reformulation means rewriting the recipe for a product, to rebalance levels of saturated fat, sugar or salt. For instance, over the last 20 years many products have been successfully reformulated to reduce salt. This was achieved gradually over many years and, as a result, the public’s tastes adapted too. Our salt intake has reduced across the board, correlating with a reduction in UK blood pressure. Reformulating can mean that a product’s flavour will change, but companies try very hard to make that difference as unnoticeable as possible. Currently, lots of everyday products – such as yoghurts and cereals – are packed with hidden sugars and it’s not fair to consumers.
Yes. There are natural sugars found in the cell structure of whole foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and lactose naturally present in milk and dairy. And there are ‘free’ sugars, which are what we are trying to reduce. Free sugars are those added to food and drink by consumers or manufacturers, including the sugar found in honey, syrups, fruit juice and smoothies. The maximum daily recommended intake of free sugars is seven teaspoons (30g) for anyone over 11 years old; six teaspoons for children aged seven to 10; and five teaspoons for four to six year olds.
Jamie’s campaigns are not about taking food away. They’re about making sure we all have honest, accurate, consistent information about what’s in our food and how it could affect our health.
We want the food industry to tell consumers everything they need to know about the product they’re buying, for example, by using clear and easy to understand front-of-pack labelling. And we don’t want them to get away with using tactics that influence us to eat foods that are packed with sugar and unhealthy fat.
We also believe everyone should have access to more affordable healthier options; rather than offering promotions on unhealthy foods, for example, we’d like to see more great deals on the good stuff. We want to make sure that wherever we are – walking down a high street, in school, or in hospital – healthy options are available.
We agree! Healthy food and drink needs to be more affordable and that is a key driver behind our campaigning. For instance, we’re pushing for improved Healthy Start Vouchers that help pregnant women and new mothers to afford essential foods. Meanwhile, Jamie’s partnership with Tesco is rooted in a shared ambition to make the healthy choice delicious and easy, and also cheaper. We have pushed for several years for healthy food to be the most affordable option. This means we’d like to see more price promotions and discounts on healthy food and fresh ingredients, across the whole industry.
Of course. We want to make life easier for parents. This is why we’re campaigning for clearer food labels, so parents know exactly what’s going into their kids’ food. And it’s why we have campaigned to stop children being targeted by ads for foods that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat, which increases pester power.
The work continues. Our campaigning team at Jamie Oliver is focused on how to improve food in schools, which is one of several changes that need to happen to create a healthy food environment in the UK.
Another area we’re actively campaigning on is free school meals. We know that many families from poorer backgrounds rely on these, and we don’t want to see any child go hungry during the school holidays, so we’d like free school meals to be offered to kids all year round.
It’s really common for young children to go through a fussy-eating phase, especially when it comes to veg. We are born with a ready-made preference for sweet-tasting foods, while bitter flavours, which includes some vegetables, are often disliked. As this is frequently just a stage, it will pass, and the best way to encourage your child to accept a food is to keep offering it, without putting any pressure on them to eat it. It can take around 20 exposures to become familiar with a new food and eventually like it. Eating it with them and offering lots of praise also help. Also, don’t forget getting kids involved in cooking, or encouraging them to grow their own little herb garden or vegetables, can also be a great way to help them feel engaged, interested and brave enough to try new things.
Yes! Our Ministry of Food team teaches people to cook in partnership with community centres and charities across the UK, and we also train others to become food teachers. Evaluation of the Ministry of Food programme has recorded many positive effects on dietary behaviour, including increased vegetable consumption and a decrease in spend on takeaways. Research has also shown that upskilling and teaching people to cook removes one of the barriers to improving diet.
We also opened the beautiful Jamie Oliver Cookery School in 2019, which offers classes in different cuisines, as well as how to make bread and pasta and perfecting your knife skills. Our chefs teach in very much a Jamie way – the sessions are informative and hands-on, but also easygoing enough that you’ll have fun while you learn.