Although the UK is still officially a fair way behind the U.S. in the obesity stakes, our rise in overweight children and adults alike is very much a cause for concern. As things stand, a quarter of our adult population are clinically obese – compare that with one report that suggests that by as soon as the year 2030 90% of Americans will top the scales over and above regulatory guidelines, and you see just how bad the problem is.
Although celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver have tried to instil healthy eating practise through school menus, little will change until one of the global conglomerates jump ship and decides it really is time to start educating the world that ‘we are what we eat’ by example. And as they don’t come much bigger than Unilever, we may well be at the dawn of a bright new day in nutrition for healthy living.
Lisa Faulkner, Celebrity Masterchef winner, has been chosen to spearhead the Unilever Food Solutions Ambu-lunch campaign. The initiative has been launched to cut half a billion calories from the UK’s eat-out menus. In theory, they have deduced that by slashing just 24 calories per meal will go a long way to resolving the obesity issue.
As such, Lisa Faulkner will be out and about in the Ambu-lunch itself, starting with the launch of its healthy eating campaign outside the Houses of Parliament (where it is rumoured the Secretary for Health has been invited to hop on board the pimped up ambulance) before setting off around the country driving home the campaign’s message to eateries, catering colleges and cookery courses.
Choosing Lisa Faulkner, a veritable champion of the healthy eating cause, was a stroke of genius by Unilever, a move instigated by their most up-to-date World Menu Report 3 that suggests over fifty percent of consumers crave healthier options on the pub and restaurant menus across the nation.
The report, tagged ‘Seductive Nutrition’, revealed exactly what improvements customers want to see. The answers were not only an eye-opener as to how clued up customers are, but also by how far the hospitality trade was second-guessing – and missing – its target audience’s tastes. In descending order, here’s what the UK public want to see more of on their menus (a must-see for all cookery schools who are looking for their next promotions):
• A wider choice and greater serving of vegetables
• Portion control adjusted down to recommended calorific sizes
• Less fat used in cooking and on served meat (now, that’s bad, see – everybody needs good fat – that’s where media have blinded the market it seeks to control)
• Fresh ingredients over frozen
• A reduction of calories (hence the launch of Ambu-lunch, one would suggest)
• And finally, grilled food over fried
In an attempt to bolster interest, chefs who sign up for the deal have access to all sorts of online information produced by Unilever, like healthier options for individual ingredients, calorific calculators and portion sizing to name a few, all designed so that taste isn’t impacted. No doubt, healthy eating in the UK just took one giant leap in the right direction.