Jamie Oliver at EAT Stockholm Food Forum

The campaigning chef

Published June 3, 2016

“I'm really excited to be at the EAT forum and to be working alongside incredible people
from the political, scientific and business community who are involved in this terrific initiative – together, we can fix the broken food system.”

Jamie Oliver, celebrity chef, author, restaurateur and campaigner, was excited and energized to join EAT Stockholm Food Forum.“This room is to me a room about collaboration, the next generation of forward thinking people, said Oliver.

 

On stage Oliver did not hide his impatience to see changes happen fast.“I think many feel it’s a moment right now, but we have to make that moment work. I think the next ten years will have a lot more effect and energy, and I’m very excited about that.”

 

Forum hostess, Femi Oke, asked if he modified his famously colourful language when talking to ministers. Oliver acknowledged that he had learnt a lot about dealing with politicians in recent years, but said he wouldn’t change his tone, saying he is very passionate about making complex things simpler for more people to understand – “It is about how long people live and how well they do in school.”

 

«I'm really excited to be at the EAT forum and to be working alongside incredible people from the political, scientific and business community who are involved in this terrific initiative – together, we can fix the broken food system.» Jamie Oliver

Great victory

Jamie Oliver celebrated a great victory in March when the British government announced the introduction of a sugary drinks tax in 2018. “A big moment in child health,” Oliver commented excitedly to the media. Campaigning for sugar-tax, Oliver argued that sugary sweetened drinks are the single largest source of sugar in British children’s diets.

“The tax will generate half a billion pounds that will go straight into our schools, invested into sports and breakfast clubs. I believe that it will reduce consumption, as it has done in other countries, and more importantly, it will force the industry to reformulate more quickly,” he said.

Both France and Mexico have introduced a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. One-fifth of the Mexican population still drink more than three litres of soft drink per week, however, it is a reduction from the four litres per week consumed before the tax was introduced in 2014. The sugar tax is 1 peso per litre, which in 2014 added to $1.3 billion of new tax revenue for the Mexican government.

Ahead of the UK government’s decision to adopt the levy, Jamie Oliver imposed an unofficial 10 pence sugar tax on all sweetened drinks in his own restaurants. The money raised through this goes to funding food education projects in the UK. Jamie is now encouraging other countries, including Canada and Australia to introduce their own sugary drinks taxes.

The celebrity chef says we have to act together to fix the broken food system.

“Currently 41 million children under the age of five are overweight, while another 159 million are too undernourished to grow properly. We’re in the middle of a global health crisis and we urgently need a food revolution so we can reverse the tide. I believe that every person on the planet should be able to access, understand and consume nutritious, delicious food, every day. The good news is that the Food Revolution is well underway and we have an army of people fighting for meaningful, lasting change.”

 

Starting the Revolution

Jamie Oliver launched his Food Revolution in 2010, calling for “a strong, sustainable movement to educate every child about food, inspire families to cook again and empower people everywhere to fight obesity”.

The same year, he was awarded the TED Prize (awarded to “an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change”, Bono and Bill Clinton are among the winners). Two years later, he was given the Healthy Cup Award of the Harvard School of Public Health for tackling the childhood obesity epidemic – and campaigning to provide whole, freshly-cooked food in schools.

His vision is a wide-scale and global revolution for individuals, communities, businesses and governments.

“Access to good, fresh, nutritious food is every child’s human right, but currently we’re failing our children,” he shares on his web page. “Millions of kids are eating too much of the wrong food, while millions more don’t get enough of the good stuff to let them grow and thrive. We need to unite as one strong, single voice to force governments and businesses to create a healthier, happier world for the future.”

He has taken that issue into his own hands, by campaigning for schools to replace junk food with healthier options and by creating projects teaching school kids about cooking from scratch.

Childhood obesity

In November 2015, he released his own recommendations to tackle childhood obesity, with six key areas, introduction of a sugary drinks tax being one of them. After the British government’s announcement of the tax on sugary drinks, Oliver said he hopes the Prime Minister will take additional bold actions to give the kids a healthier, happier future.

Jamie’s Food Revolution Day celebrated it’s fifth year on May 20th of this year and saw 115 million people engage in the longest-ever Facebook Live campaign. From London to Australia and Canada to Tanzania, Jamie was joined by the following well-known chefs and personalities from 10 different countries, all of whom carried out Facebook Live broadcasts from the around the world to help make history. Immediately after this Jamie attended the World Health Assembly in Geneva talking about global nutrition and asking health ministers from around the world what they are doing in their countries to improve child health through food. Speaking on a special panel discussion, Jamie was joined by the head of the World Health Organisation Margaret Chan; Finnish minister of family affairs and social services Juha Rehula; Former President of Namibia Nahas Angula; health ministers from Bangladesh, Canada, Kenya, Netherlands, UK, and USA; and government representatives from Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Zambia, and chair of the Global Nutrition Report Corinna Hawkes.

The event saw countries including Canada, Finland, Kenya, Namibia, the USA and the UK all made SMART commitments to tackle the global crisis of child malnutrition, placing their flags on the Food Revolution map.

 

«I think the next ten years will have a lot more effect and energy, and I’m very excited about that.» Jamie Oliver

This is Jamie Oliver

Full name: James Trevor Oliver.

Occupation: Celebrity chef, author and food revolutionary.

Age: 41, born 27 May 1975.

Family: Married to Jools. Four children (their fifth is expected in August).

Background: Grew up in the village of Clavering in North-West Essex, United Kingdom. Two siblings. His parents ran a pub/restaurant, where Jamie practiced cooking. He struggled with dyslexia, read his first novel at the age of 38.

JAMIE OLIVER’S FOOD REVOLUTION PROJECTS

Global campaign

The Food Revolution has to be global for it to make an impact. We work with partners all over the world to raise awareness and pressurise governments and businesses to get serious about how they provide children with access to nutritious food. In 2016, we are campaigning at key events, including the World Health Assembly, the Nutrition for Growth Summit in Rio and the UN General Assembly in New York.

Kitchen Garden Project

Jamie Oliver’s Kitchen Garden Project empowers primary school teachers to integrate growing and cooking into the school day. By teaching children about food, where it comes from, how to cook it and how it affects their bodies, our fun and informative resources and recipes equip children with the knowledge and confidence to cook from scratch, as well as forming positive eating habits that will last a lifetime. Our work also extends to secondary schools through Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills, a BTEC-accredited programme.

Ministry of Food

Jamie’s Ministry of Food is a practical and hands-on community-based cooking programme that teaches people of all ages how to cook from scratch. All classes use Jamie Oliver recipes and resources, specifically developed with nutrition and balance in mind, and aim to build an individual’s confidence to cook good, affordable, nutritious meals for themselves and their families. Trained Ministry of Food teachers inspire thousands of people to cook from scratch every year in centres and through Outreach Programmes across the UK.

Fifteen Apprentice Programme

Since 2002, Fifteen London has trained more than 164 young adults to become world class chefs. Today, 80% of graduates are still employed in the hospitality industry, with many of them now running their own successful restaurants. Building on this success – and continuing Jamie’s mission to get more new chefs into the restaurant industry – our apprentice programme will now be in action across all of Jamie’s 46 UK restaurants, including Fifteen London.

Sugar Smart UK

Sugar Smart UK is our exciting new grassroots campaign to increase awareness of and reduce sugar consumption across all age groups and communities in the UK. In its pilot phase in Brighton and Hove, we’re currently partnering with the Brighton and Hove council and Public Health teams, as well as the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, to deliver actions and interventions across schools and hospitals, tourist attractions and even cricket grounds.

Childhood Obesity Strategy

In lobbying the UK Government to introduce a strong and robust multi-sectoral Childhood Obesity Strategy, together with medical experts and professionals, Jamie launched a six-point plan to tackle childhood obesity in the UK in November 2015. This plan details a range of proposed policies, initiatives, incentives and community-based interventions, which together create a powerful tool to change the way children access and consume food and drink. These six key areas include a levy on sugary drinks, reformulation of products, fairer marketing, clearer labelling, the School Food Plan and the National Child Measurement Programme.