TuckIN For Councils
The Covid pandemic has highlighted the fact that in the UK 64% of the population are overweight or obese, this is contributing to poor health and extra cost and burden on the NHS
If we do not reduce this figure, by 2050 the cost to the NHS will be £9.7 billion to manage poor health related to our weight.
The pandemic has raised awareness of health in general with many people now focussing on this aspect of life and research has shown that now is the time to engage with the obesity agenda.
National polcies are supporting and assisting with the problem but Local Authorities can help as well.
Meals at cafes, restaurants and from takeaways (out of home meals) are contributing to rising levels of obesity. These meals tend to contain more energy (with higher levels of fat, saturated fats, sugar and salt) and lower levels of micronutrients. There are more fast food outlets in deprived areas, on average, than in more affluent areas. Online fast food outlets in England are also more accessible in the most deprived areas.
How councils can get involved with TuckIN
Local authorities commonly accept pledges from food outlets that meet certain criteria (recipe reformulation, adding healthier options and smaller portions to the menu) to promote healthier eating. Outlet owners have been generally positive about such interventions, especially when they are cost neutral and use a ‘health by stealth’ approach. That means imperceptible changes to price, taste, or portion size. Customers are generally in favour of these changes and are often unaware they have happened.
Policies regulating the content of out of home food (e.g. levels of fat, salt or sugar) could influence what people eat.
This is why the 12 councils in Essex have been delivering TuckIN since 2014. The project is regularly reviewed and updated to consciously improve our offering.
TuckIN was created by Environmental Health Officers working in food safety. They understand food businesses and how they operate from combined years of experience in education, advice, support and enforcement. They regularly visit and inspect many food businesses, issuing food hygiene ratings and advice. The scheme is suitable for SME food businesses achieving a rating of 3, 4 or 5 on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.
TuckIN was based on the Responsibility Deal and asks small businesses to pledge to reduce fats, use healthier fats, improve frying techniques and reduce salt, sugar and portion size. Businesses are also required to promote the scheme, undertake nutrition training and link in with further complementary schemes. Each business must make at least 8 pledges.
The scheme can be delivered by a variety of methods. It can be undertaken at the same time as a food hygiene inspection, on a separate visit that can be pre-arranged or by a video/digital visit. One council outside of Essex used a third party contract company to deliver TuckIN. Environmental Health Officers are not required to deliver this project but would be best placed in a food safety team.
Verification of the pledges can be undertaken on the next premises visit.
Come and join us
If you are considering undertaking an obesity project and want more information then please contact us for full information. This is a cost effect method of delivering work that we are now increasingly being mandated to deliver and links in well with calorie labelling as small businesses will be required to undertake this as well in the future.
For more information call 01255 686753
Why get involved?
To ensure that everyone can make easy, positive decisions about their health when it comes to food and eating out, TuckIN supports better choices by providing food that is better for your health.
TuckIN is an innovative and evolving model that supports positive food choices when eating out, by working with small and independent food businesses to reduce salt, fat and sugar and to reduce calories. It also offers training and engages in the wider health and environmental agenda.