Entrepreneur calls for action on diet-related diseaseBy David Millward
February 25, 2013
A baby food entrepreneur has launched a national campaign to fight the “ticking time-bomb” of diet-related disease in children.
Paul Lindley, the founder of Ella’s Kitchen, is calling on the food industry, government and retailers to create a food manifesto for the under-fives.
The Caversham dad set out his vision in a report called ‘Averting a recipe for disaster, Our children and their food’ which involved leading experts in the food and health industries, charities and media.
Mr Lindley, who was named entrepreneur of the year in the Pride of Reading awards 2012, makes recommendations including compulsory cooking lessons at school, free school breakfasts and cookery workshops at supermarkets.
He said: “The current cost to the NHS of diet-related disease is estimated to be nearly £6bn annually and the impact of poor nutrition stretches far deeper, with long term impacts on national productivity.
“We cannot offer a silver bullet solution, this is a 25-year challenge which requires co-ordinated action from everyone, across industry and government, retailers, educators, parents and the media.
“The solution must start with the babies of today, the parents of tomorrow.”
He continued: “If our politicians can work together, rather than with disparate aims, there is an opportunity to save a generation of children from the twin evils of obesity and hunger.”
The report builds on interviews given by a host of experts including restaurateur, broadcaster and writer Prue Leith, chef and food writer Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Professor David Haslam GP, chairman of the National Obesity Forum.
Carmel McConnell, founder of Magic Breakfast which delivers free healthy breakfasts to primary schools, said: “Paul Lindley is right in calling for an integrated approach to deal with child hunger and malnutrition as well as obesity, two sides of the same food poverty coin.
“Implementing these recommendations will potentially avert disaster and I call on parents, policy makers and food retailers to read this report and take immediate action.”
Ella’s Kitchen was set up seven years ago by Mr Lindley, who wanted to ensure his daughter Ella and her generation could eat healthy food which they enjoyed.
He now employs 60 people at his HQ in Rotherfield Greys, South Oxfordshire, where they produce 80 products which are enjoyed by youngsters in 12 countries.
Ideas set out in the report include:
One compulsory hour per week practical cooking and food education in school
Call on grocery brands to donate one per cent of their annual TV advertisement time to promote healthy eating
Every primary school pupil to receive a free healthy breakfast
Call on supermarkets to run free weekly cookery workshops for children and parents