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What’s our role in the childhood obesity strategy?

We recently attended a Footprint Forum event, which focused on foodservice and the childhood obesity strategy. The facts speak for themselves – obesity is clearly an issue, with nearly a third of young people aged between two and 15 now overweight or obese.

Whilst we don’t cater for children, as a business, the obesity strategy and health and wellbeing more generally remains high on our agenda. We know all too well the importance of education and how adults can influence children’s choices.

The speakers gave a quick overview of the government’s plans to reduce England’s rate of childhood obesity and talked about measures to cut sugar, with foodservice providers expected to reduce five per cent in the first year and 20 per cent by year five.

The three key areas that have been identified to help cut sugar and reduce childhood obesity. These include:

– Reducing portion sizes

– Reducing the amount of sugar used in food

– Shifting consumer preferences so they make healthier choices

Guests at the event discussed some of the challenges linked to the reduction in portion sizes. People perceive they are getting less value for money, which creates problem for foodservice businesses. Guests and experts agreed the best way to shift value is by shifting consumer preferences.

So what are we doing to tackle obesity?

As a food business we recognise that we have a responsibility to our customers and work hard to help them achieve positive health and wellbeing.

We have made real changes within the business already, reducing salt across the business by over 15%, reducing the use of Artificial Trans Fats by 90% and over 20% of our grab and go range is labelled clearly with nutritional information and calories.

Here is an overview of some of our healthy initiatives here at Lexington:

Healthy options

We have developed a number of healthy brands for our customers to help them meet their health goals. These include:

– Let’s Energise

Our multi-award winning, Let’s Energise range balances healthy fats, proteins and slow releasing carbohydrates, to give you sustained energy levels throughout the day. All of our products provide you with full nutritional information so you can see precisely what you’re consuming.

– Vitalicious Juice

Our award-winning Vitalicious Juices are blitzed to order and they contain two and a half of your ‘five a day’. They are perfect for busy, health conscious customers.

– Grains&Greens

Our Grains&Greens vegetarian range of wholesome and delicious hot dishes was created to reflect the growth in flexitarian and vegetarian diets. This range uses filling, tasty and varied ingredients to produce dishes that deliver on flavour, nutrition and taste every time.

– Free From

We introduced a range of Free From products and dishes, which include breakfast snacks, bakery produce and lunch/dinner.

Shifting preferences

We work with our clients to educate customers. Not simply by including nutritional information on some of our dishes but also by holding wellbeing days and including information online.

Our aim is to help customers understand how different ingredients can help them achieve certain health goals, as well as encourage them to try healthy options and new ingredients. We also have dedicated champions in each site who are available to provide information about allergens.

Making healthy tasty

In order to shift preferences and get out customers to choose healthy alternatives we need to ensure they are both tasty and look appealing.

Training and development

We have worked hard to ensure our chefs understand the need to focus on healthy foods, with regular food forums around healthy ingredients and nutrition training.