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Sustain Food Awards 2010: Hall of Fame and Shame
31/12/2010

Good food charity Sustain [1] today announced the winners of its Food Hall of Fame and Shame Awards, celebrating the work of people and organisations that have championed good food during 2010, and embarrassing those that we consider have obstructed efforts to bring about a healthier and more sustainable food system.  Sustain is pleased to present the awards in seven different categories. 

"2010 has been a challenging year in the food and farming world," said Kath Dalmeny, Policy Director of Sustain, an alliance of food and farming organisations. "This year, we've seen the coalition government hand health policy over to the junk food industry and junk food advertisers influencing policy at national and European level. On the positive side, communities all over the UK are taking back control of their food by setting up community food projects, campaigning, and supporting responsible food buying by schools and local authorities. With our Food Awards, we highlight the food heroes and food villains of 2010."

"We hope that the recipients of our Food Fame awards will be encouraged to continue their great work, and that those who receive our Food Shame awards will do much more to promote good food, health and the environment in 2011."


Public Food Sector Award

Fame: London Borough of Havering

Their impressive achievements in school and civic catering include using free range eggs, Freedom Food poultry and pork, and Marine Stewardship Council certified fish – and all on a small budget. Gerry Clinton, Havering’s Catering & Schools Traded Services Manager, deserves specific recognition for the efforts he’s made above and beyond his huge workload, to implement all of this. Working with Sustain, he has encouraged and set an example to other local authorities to procure collaboratively to be able to afford good food.

Shame: Coalition Government – Proposed Government Buying Standards

In December, the Government issued a consultation on new Government Buying Standards for food served in Whitehall, government agencies and the armed forces. Examination of the standards shows that the Government has decided to serve healthy food to MPs and civil servants, but not to hospital patients, as the standards will not cover hospital food. The Coalition has promised to be the ’the greenest government yet’, but the new standards propose that only a meagre one in five fish served in the public sector will have environmental standards, meaning that four in five could still come from endangered stocks and fish species. [2]


MP Food Leadership Award

Fame: Joan Walley, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston

Joan and Zac worked together to champion the Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill, which promised to transform public sector food by introducing mandatory health, environmental, animal welfare and ethical standards for all food served in public institutions. The Bill, which was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by Joan Walley, is backed by more than 56 national organisations, including the Women’s Institute, RSPCA and the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. [3]

Shame: Andrew Lansley, MP for South Cambridgeshire

Secretary of State for Health in the Coalition Government, Andrew enraged health campaigners in 2010 by criticising Jamie Oliver’s successful campaign to improve the quality of school food, and by giving junk food companies a strong say in public health policies. In July, he announced plans to allow the food industry, including Nestlé and PepsiCo, to get more involved in the anti-obesity Change4Life campaign; in November it was revealed that the Health Secretary’s public health strategy involved "Responsibility Deals" with companies including McDonalds and KFC. [4]


Food Promotion to Children Award

Fame: The Food for Life Partnership

The Food for Life Partnership is a Lottery-funded network of schools and communities across England committed to transforming food culture by revolutionising school meals, reconnecting children and young people with where their food comes from, and inspiring families to grow and cook food. In 2010, more primary, secondary and special schools than ever engaged with Food for Life and the Partnership signed up its 3,000th school. Their cooks and caterers now provide over 200,000 Food for Life accredited meals every day. Schools pursuing a Food for Life award bring good food to the centre of school life, giving pupils the broad food education they need to understand how their food choices affect their own health and the health of the planet. [5]

Shame: Kellogg’s

Parents responded with outrage in January 2010 after Kellogg’s launched an advertising campaign, with posters at bus stops around the country. It featured the Coco Pops cartoon monkey dressed in a school uniform encouraging children to eat the high-sugar cereal as an after-school snack. The Children’s Food Campaign pointed out that, as partners in the government’s Change4Life anti-obesity campaign, and as Coco Pops are banned in schools and are not allowed to be advertised during children’s television, Kellogg’s marketing directly contradicted key Change4Life messages. This is the third ’shame’ award the company has received this year, after they were recognised by the Australia’s Parent’s Jury for being the worst offenders in their "Pester Power" and "Smoke and mirrors" awards for unhealthy food marketing. [6]


Food and Health Award

Fame: Consensus Action on Salt and Health (CASH)

In a series of high profile surveys this year, CASH has alerted consumers and shamed companies about excessive salt levels in a range of foods, including soups, curries, salads and barbeque foods, and lobbied government for a commitment to salt reduction. As a result of campaigns like these, average daily salt intake in the UK has fallen by almost ten per cent over the last five years, saving the UK economy £1.5bn a year and preventing an estimated 6,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease. [9]

Shame: CIAA, the Confederation of the food and drink industries of the EU

The CIAA is estimated to have spent €1bn on efforts to block European legislation which could have seen colour-coded "traffic light" nutritional labelling on the front of food packages to help people make healthier choices. The CIAA’s lobbying campaign included television adverts, lunchtime debates with MEPs, and a stand with a "prize draw" inside the European Parliament, and at times key MEPs received up to 150 emails a day from the corporate lobbyists. [10]


Greener Food Award

Fame: Greater London Authority (GLA)

In December 2010, the GLA committed to higher standards for food served to London’s key workers in the Metropolitan Police and in Transport for London who run the tubes, trains and buses. These standards mean serving only sustainable fish and free range eggs, plus a proportion of higher welfare Freedom Food meat, and all tea, coffee, sugar, bananas and a wide range of chocolate will be fairly traded. Deputy Mayor Richard Barnes, who leads the GLA group responsible procurement programme, said when launching the commitment, "We are determined to ensure that public money is used efficiently but even in challenging economic times, that it is also spent fairly and with maximum benefit to Londoners. This means using our purchasing clout to buy goods and services that are ethically sourced and have minimum impact on the environment and ensure that we generate skilled jobs, apprenticeships and training."

Shame: Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a top-level sponsor for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games with exclusive rights to sell beverages at the Games. They have promised a "sustainable logistics plan" for London 2012, stating they will serve 25 million drinks at the Games. The Children’s Food Campaign estimates that this would result in spectators consuming over 300 tonnes of sugar and more than a billion sugary calories, or eight teaspoons of sugar for every one of the 8.8 million Olympic Games ticket sold. The campaign group also cast doubt on Coca-Cola’s sustainability claims, drawing attention to a recent report on food and climate change, commissioned by the government’s Food Standards Agency, which found that sugary drinks have a large carbon footprint, and recommended reducing consumption of these drinks. [7, 8]


Community Food Award

Fame: Food and Health in Sandwell

For around 10 years, health and local authority professionals in Sandwell, West Midlands, have been working with community members to promote good health through food. Activities include community food growing projects, community cafés, and GP referrals to community food projects. Sandwell, near Birmingham, needs more of this kind of work. Only this month, new figures showed that the West Midlands has the highest overweight and obesity levels in Europe, demonstrating how important this work is. [13]

Shame: Heinz

In January 2010, the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint that Heinz did not have sufficiently robust evidence to support claims that its Nurture infant formula and milk supported children’s immunity and development. This followed a very similar case in October 2009 in which Danone’s adverts claiming that Actimel was "scientifically proven to help support your kids defences" were ruled against, after the company used research carried out in poor countries to justify their claims. [14]


Food Retailer Award

Fame: Unpackaged

Celebrating its third birthday in November 2010, this small grocer in North London is dedicated to less wasteful packaging, allowing its customers to buy food in their own containers. The business adheres to a strict sustainability policy, buying mainly organic products, supporting local producers and stocking seasonal and Fairtrade products as far as possible. [11]

Shame: Tesco

In July 2010, Sustain’s Real Bread Campaign made headlines after its complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority that Tesco was misleading consumers was upheld. Their magazine advertisement read: "Fresh bread. Baked from scratch in our in-store bakery. Using 100% British flour. So every single loaf is genuinely British…Born and bread." However, Tesco were only baking loaves from scratch in 504 of its 2,362 UK stores and some were produced with imported flour. In its response to the complaint, Tesco admitted that far more (1,288) of its in-store bakeries merely re-baked loaves that were part-baked elsewhere. [12]


Notes to editors

  1. Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level.  For more information, visit www.sustainweb.org
  2. In December 2010, the government issued a consultation on proposals for the introduction of Government Buying Standards (GBS). GBS will introduce mandatory health and sustainability standards for food purchased by central government. This represents approximately one third of public sector food. Those public institutions outside central government - which includes hospitals, schools and care homes - will not have to implement the Government Buying Standards. The Government Buying Standards consultation will close on 24 January, and the standards will be introduced in March 2011. For more details, visit: www.defra.gov.uk/sustainable/government/advice/public/buying/products/food/index.htm
  3. The Public Bodies (Sustainable Food) Bill proposes to introduce food standards in a ‘Code for Sustainable Food’, which would be applicable to public bodies. The Bill would enable public bodies to adopt the Code immediately, and would also give local communities the authority to force their local public institutions to adopt the Code. The Bill did not receive its Second Reading on 12 November 2010 because the Sustainable Livestock Bill – which was debated directly before it – was filibustered by Conservative MPs and subsequently ran out of time. To read the Bill, visit: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/publicbodiessustainablefood.html
  4. In July, a broad coalition of organisations concerned with children’s health wrote to Andrew Lansley to raise concerns at his approach to public health.  For more information see www.sustainweb.org/news/july_2010_lansley_childrens_health/.  In November, it was revealed how food companies were involved in formulating public health policy - see www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/12/mcdonalds-pepsico-help-health-policy?dm_i=8UC,BDEW,13PDD0,VXNM,1 and  www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/dec/09/health-policy-extent-corporate-influence for more information.
  5. For more information about the achievements of the Food for Life Partnership in 2010, visit http://www.foodforlife.org.uk/Aboutus/Annualreview.aspx
  6. In November, Kellogg’s were awarded a Shame Award for Pester Power by the Australian Parent’s Jury for their television advertisements for LCM bars, which conveyed to children that having an LCM bar in their lunchbox would make them popular in the playground.  Kellogg’s also received the Shame Award for Smoke & Mirrors for their Nutri-Grain cereal, for promoting the sugary product for boys who aspire to become elite athletes.  For more details visit: http://www.parentsjury.org.au/tpj_browse.asp?ContainerID=2010_fameshame
  7. In an email dated 30 July, Coca-Cola announced that it would be “delivering 25 million servings of our drinks at the 2012 London Olympics”. Our sugar estimates are very conservative, based on these servings being a small 250ml (the smallest size available at fast food outlets such as McDonalds – in fact, many servings may be provided in a regular can, at a size of 330ml) and only half of these servings being for calorie-laden sugary drinks such as Coca-Cola and Fanta (according to international proportional sales statistics cited on the Coca-Cola website, one quarter of sales are of low-calorie beverages; a further quarter of sales are bottled water and pure fruit juice, so half are likely to be calorie-laden sugary drinks). A single 250ml serving of Coca-Cola or Fanta contains 26g of sugar and 105kCalories. If half of the 25,000,000 servings (12,500,000 servings) are of this type of drink, 325,000,000g (325 tonnes) of sugar and 1.3billion kCalories will be contained in these drinks. 325 tonnes of sugar divided by the 8.8m tickets available for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (www.london2012.com/news/2010/10/london-2012-announces-olympic-games-ticket-prices.php) is 36.9g of sugar per ticket. This is equal to 8.7 teaspoons of sugar, as a teaspoon of sugar weighs 4.2g (http://nutrition.about.com/od/askyournutritionist/f/gramconversion.htm).
  8. “Food and Climate change: A review of the effects of climate change on food within the remit of the Food Standards Agency” was published by the FSA in October 2010. It states: “Foods with large greenhouse gas footprints include sugary foods and drinks” (p.9) and “One response to climate change may be individuals consuming diets with lower greenhouse gas emissions. These may include…reducing intake of sugary foods and drinks” (p.10). The report is available at www.foodbase.org.uk//admintools/reportdocuments/575-1-1008_X02001__Climate_Change_and_Food_Report__28_Sept_2010.pdf
  9. For more information about Consensus Action on Salt and Health, visit http://www.actiononsalt.org.uk/
  10. For more information about CIAA’s lobbying against colour-coded nutrition labelling, visit www.sustainweb.org/news/june10_red_light_traffic_lights/ or www.corporateeurope.org/lobbycracy/content/2010/06/red-light-consumer-information 
  11. For more information about Unpackaged, visit http://beunpackaged.com/
  12. For more information about the complaint upheld by the ASA against Tesco, visit www.sustainweb.org/realbread/tesco_advertisement/
  13. For more information about health indicators in the West Midlands, visit www.i2sare.eu/region.aspx?page=UK&at=HealthProfile 
  14. For more information on the complaint upheld by the ASA against Heinz, visit www.sustainweb.org/news/asa_heinz_rulling/