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FAQs

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to make healthy food choices.

If you campaign for healthier food, why do you sell burgers in your restaurants?

We believe there’s a place for all types of food in our diets. It’s about how often and how much. We recognise that eating out is a time when some of us want to indulge, but we make sure we have plenty of healthier options on our menus. In fact, we make sure 35% of our recipes are within the green or amber colour-coded scale for saturated fat, salt and sugar and publish all the nutrition information for our menus online.

How about Fifteen and Barbecoa?

We don’t count the calories at Fifteen and Barbecoa. Many of the delicious dishes at these restaurants are indulgent, and we think they should always be viewed as a treat. We wouldn’t recommend anyone eats there every day! They’re special restaurants, for special meals.

And what about the unhealthy recipes on your website?

We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to make an informed choice. We publish detailed nutrition info for our recipes online. We strive to ensure the majority of new recipes we develop are super-tasty meet our nutrition standards for ‘everyday’ foods – this means we measure the amount of calories, saturated fat, sugar and salt, and we make sure the recipes 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’ recipes, across our platforms. Find out more about our nutrition standards in our Food Ethos section.

What does higher welfare mean?

‘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.

What does organic mean?

‘Organic’ means no pesticides and artificial chemicals are used. Although the word organic doesn’t refer to welfare, organic systems usually provide very good welfare standards for animals – using organic feed and slower-growing breeds. Organic products often cost more, as the feed and extra living space can be costly for producers. We always encourage people to trade up to organic where and if they can.

What is the Sugary Drinks Industry Levy?

Also called the sugar tax, this levy is a move for good that ultimately aims to reduce excessive sugar in products. The real significance is that it’s a tax on the manufacturer, which has therefore pushed the industry to reformulate sugary drinks. Nearly 50% of soft drinks brands have reduced sugar in their products to avoid the levy. Plus, any money that is raised from the levy funds breakfast clubs in disadvantaged areas and school sports.

What's wrong with sugary drinks?

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 sugars 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.

Do you still teach people to cook?

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. Other research has shown that upskilling and teaching people to cook removes one of the barriers to improving diet.

Why are you banning popular products?

This is exactly the opposite of what we’re campaigning for. We’re not suggesting we take anything away from people – we want the industry and the government to give us more! More options, and cheaper, healthier convenience food.

Why are you telling me what I should eat?

Our campaigns are absolutely not about telling people what to eat. But, crucially, we don’t want the food industry to get away with using tactics that influence us to eat foods that are packed with sugar and unhealthy fat. Jamie’s campaigns are definitely 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 to make sure that wherever we are – walking down a high street, in school, in hospital – there are healthy options available.

What is reformulation?

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 and this correlated 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. The government has set a target for the food industry to reduce calories and sugar in our foods across five years. Currently, lots of everyday products – like yoghurts and cereals – are packed with hidden sugars and it’s not fair to consumers.

Are there different types of sugar?

Yes. There is sugar found naturally in the cell structure of whole foods such as fruit and vegetables, or lactose naturally present in milk and dairy. And there are ‘free’ sugars, which are the type of sugar we are trying to reduce. Free sugars are those added to food and drink by consumers or by 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.

Eating healthily can be too expensive...

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 campaigned for several years for healthy food to be the most affordable option. This means that we’d like to see more price promotions and discounts on healthy food and fresh ingredients, across the whole industry.

Shouldn’t parents decide what their children eat?

Definitely. We want to make life easier for parents. This is why we’re campaigning for clearer food labels – so parents know what’s going into their kids’ food. And it’s why we campaign to stop kids being targeted by ads for foods that are high in sugar, salt and saturated fat, which increase pester power.

How do you encourage kids to eat more veg?

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 such as vegetables are often disliked. This is frequently just a phase 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.

When are you going to finish the work you started with school dinners?

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.