Jamie Oliver Is Protesting To Ban Cheap Junk Food And People Think It's Tone Deaf
Jamie Oliver takes part in the What An Eton Mess demonstration outside Downing Street, London, calling for Boris Johnson to reconsider his U-turn on the Government's anti-obesity strategy. (Photo: Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)
Jamie Oliver wants the government to ban multi-buy deals on junk food. And considering the cost of living crisis, some people are seriously unimpressed.
It all started when the government said it would ban “buy one get one free” deals on junk food and ban pre-watershed TV adverts for foods high in fat, salt or sugar, as part of its strategy to tackle obesity published in July 2020.
The report stated that one in three children leaving primary school were overweight or obese and set out an action plan to tackle the issue.
But the government later u-turned on these plans, saying it would defer action for a year while officials assess how the cost of living is affecting household finances.
If it goes ahead, the ban on multi-buy promotions will now come into effect in October 2023, whilst the ban on TV adverts would be delayed until January 2024 – and Oliver isn’t pleased.
Essentially, he wants the government to u-turn on its u-turn and get on with the obesity strategy ASAP.
The chef asked people to protest outside Number 10 with an Eton Mess pudding at Friday lunch time, to persuade the government to take action against junk food now.
“I’ve asked the British public to come and join me on Friday at 12:30. Please bring an Eton Mess. Just come and have a peaceful protest for 15 minutes,” Oliver told Channel 4.
He continued: “Part of my job, believe it or not is following graphs of how our kids are doing. And the last two years has been extraordinary bad.”
Here at our #EtonMess peaceful demonstration @10DowningStreet in London calling for @BorisJohnson to keep his promise to end junk food advertising to kids and put more promotions on essential foods!! pic.twitter.com/jcHqT1pAhw
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) May 20, 2022
It’s not the first time, the chef has campaigned on public health issues. Oliver has long campaigned on for healthier food in schools.
He also teamed up with the charity Food for Life to introduce a healthy rating scheme in schools, which focused on promoting healthy food inside and out of schools whilst encouraging children to be physically active.
He’s probably known most for banning Turkey Twizzlers in schools in 2005 after launching his Feed Me Better campaign, which aimed to improve the quality of school lunched. He said in 2021 that he still gets public abuse for the campaign.
However, plenty of people think his current stance is tone-deaf amid the cost of living crisis and spiralling food prices.
So, as a millionaire you’re gonna turn up at Downing St and tell the PM that during a huge cost of living crisis, that people need to pay more for their shopping ? Am I right ?
— Gary’s Tweets 🇬🇧🏴🏴 (@gary_robertson) May 19, 2022
People are arguing that Oliver’s comments come from a huge place of privilege, with many stating that Olivier should offer recipes for healthy meals on a budget, rather than campaigning on banning cheap junk food.
Food inflation accelerated to 3.5% in April, up from 3.3% in March – the highest inflation rate since March 2013. Archie Norman, the chairman of Marks & Spencer, has warned food prices could even soar by as much as 10% this year, meaning the average food shop in the UK could increase by £271 per year.
The price of oils and fats for food increased by 7.2% in March alone, adding to a more than 18% rise in the last year.
So it’s no wonder that people aren’t impressed by Oliver’s comments.
Massively out of touch. How can you look at everything that’s going on in this country and think “you know what we need? We need to make food items more inaccessible!”
Jamie, there are people that are starving https://t.co/SVHDzZUf3W
— nat (@_natstradamus) May 20, 2022
Instead of trying to ban affordable junk food, why not campaign for affordable healthy food, affordable energy to cook it with, shorter working days to allow for the cooking and cooking lessons for those who need it? Because that's how you'd solve the problem.
— Michael Scanlan (@ScanlanWithAnA) May 19, 2022
Also why are you calling on us–do it yourself!
We are actually tired and busy!
Can @jamieoliver not see that we have a LOT of bigger fish to fight like racism, price of living costs and the corrupt police?
But junk food banning is at the top of his agenda 🙃
Gurl, bye! https://t.co/8FuVfDyR0cpic.twitter.com/c9EgoODLtt
— Chauntelle JN Lewis (She/Her) (@cjnlewis_) May 20, 2022
Yes, junk food is bad… but is banning it during a cost of living crisis (without aiming to make healthier foods cheaper) really the right thing to do? Absolutely not.
— Ash (@theashrb) May 20, 2022
Jamie could try campaigning to make healthier foods more *checks notes* affordable. https://t.co/XRaYfgthMr
— KWAJO- Social Housing (@KwajoHousing) May 19, 2022
I can’t quite believe that THIS is what he is getting so upset & passionate about.
I mean yes it’s another cause perhaps worth taking on, but right NOW??? He could be putting his weight behind SO much more, pushing the government to do better, it’s quite ridiculous. #JamieOliver
— HollyHox 🐇 (@HollHox) May 19, 2022
Out of touch or what. Are you aware that millions of people are,right now, struggling to put food on the table.BOGOF is not be perfect but it’s helping in these tough times. A beef joint, various veg, potatoes etc can feed a family of 4 for around a tenner. Post some recipes.
— David Robertson (@ukwhitetop) May 18, 2022
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.