Sustain welcomes Jamie Oliver backing for sugary drinks duty and creation of fund to support better children’s food

In a UK first, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group will impose its very own 'child health levy’ on any soft drink with added sugar in all its UK restaurants from September this year with the much needed money raised going directly to fund food education for children and health initiatives

Sustain has been calling on the government to introduce a Sugary Drinks duty since 2013, when it published a report entitled 'A Children’s Future Fund – how food duties could provide the money to protect children’s health and the world they grow up in'. 

Sustain will assist Jamie Oliver in setting up a fund to support children’s food initiatives across the UK in a bid to stop the growing epidemic of diet related diseases amongst our children.  Other restaurants are being encouraged to come on board and set up similar sugary drink donations to contribute to this fund.

Jamie Oliver adds: "I am incredibly proud of my restaurant staff for getting behind and really believing in this levy.  I was born into the restaurant industry and I truly believe that by joining together on this issue we not only send a powerful and strong message to government but we also have the potential to make a long-lasting legacy that could ripple across the world. Recently I’ve seen first hand the heart-breaking effects that a poor diet and too much sugar is having on our children’s health and futures.  Young children are needing multiple teeth pulled out under general anaesthetic and 1 in 3 kids are now leaving primary school overweight or obese.  Soft drinks are the biggest single source of sugar amongst school-age kids and teenagers and so we have to start there."

Professor Mike Rayner, Chair of Sustain and Professor of Population Health at the University of Oxford added: “This is a hugely important and forward-thinking step by a restaurant group when it comes to a statement affecting public health and food education.  If other restaurant groups follow this lead, we could be on the verge of making a big impact when it comes to reassessing our relationship with sugar.  It should be a treat, not an every day means to hydrate children in particular.”

Simon Blagden, CEO of the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group said: “As a business we’re concerned about the increasing levels of diet-related disease in the UK, especially in children, and while we’re not against treats, we do feel that we need to take a lead when it comes to keeping our customers informed. A levy on these drinks allows us to send a message as well as raise money to help give children the knowledge to make better food and drink choices.”

For media enquiries please contact Malcolm Clark - 07733322148 or Peter Berry 07966 492652 


1. A Children’s Future Fund – how food duties could provide the money to protect children’s health and the world they grow up in. The report recommended that a duty on sugary drinks was the most effective and practical fiscal method to achieve a change in consumption habits and benefit the most people.

2. All soft drinks at the restaurants with added sugar will have 10p added on to every 330ml drink.  The restaurant group is currently working on finding healthier alternatives for its customers and of course Water is freely available in all our restaurants and is always offered to customers.  

3. Jamie Oliver restaurant menus will feature a note explaining the move and all front of house staff will be fully briefed on the sugar levy and the options available to customers.  This will cover all UK branches of the Jamie’s Italian collection, Fifteen London, Barbecoa, Union Jacks and the Jamie Oliver Diner.

4. The fund is set to be launched later this year.


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