Yesterday I went to Food Matters Live 2015, a huge conference at the Excel centre in London about food, health, and nutrition.
Now, I have to say that it was absolutely fantastic, even for someone like me who doesn't work in the food industry, and certainly can't be classed as a health fanatic of any sort, it was really interesting to discover loads of new products, but also I really enjoyed sitting in on the very first panel discussion, which was discussing the obesity crisis in the UK and how to tackle it.
In the discussion there was a lot of talk about education, and especially for children, to educate them in healthy choices, and I do think that it is an important point, but one thing that I didn't hear about was the accessibility of healthy foods.
Taking myself as an example, I am lazy when I can get away with being lazy. I make no excuses for this, I consider it a sign of efficiency if I can get something done quick and with less effort. Now, every day when I walk in the front door at home after being at work, there will be at least one, if not more than one, takeaway menus on the floor. These are invariably for pizzas, kebabs, fish & chips, or occasionally something like a Chinese or Italian (which I accept will have some healthier choices). But while there may be healthier choices on the menu (and certainly on the normal pizza menu there isn't), these aren't really highlighted in any way - no calorie listings, no fat content shown, just pictures of lovely fried meat and cheese on top of bread. There's nothing like the traffic light signs which show up on foods bought in supermarkets.
Furthermore, I have access to a number of "apps" on my phone. Taking my laziness a step further, I can quite easily choose to sit on the sofa, and by prodding at my phone for a few seconds I can then settle down to a repeat of Friends, content in the knowledge that I have ordered and paid for a delicious yet unhealthy food to be delivered to my front door (which is just a few steps away). Again, certainly on the app that I normally use, there isn't any nutritional value information available (or if there is I've missed it). And the places that typically would offer healthier food, like delicatessens or health food shops, aren't on the apps. You can't order a healthy yet tasty meal from your local delicatessen to be delivered, but you can order a kebab and chips from any number of places. And for me, the effort and time that goes into chopping and preparing a salad makes it a less attractive option.
Do not get me wrong - it's entirely my fault that I am not an ideal weight, I'm not blaming anyone but myself. But what I am saying is that healthy food is not always as easily accessible as unhealthy food, at least in the food delivery sector. I don't have an answer for this either, I'm merely highlighting an issue.
Now, I'm going to go and work my way through the samples I got at the conference (video coming soon) - yum!