Following a report by Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of the Leon restaurant chain, the government has received recommendations on the state of the countries food systems.
The report stresses the reliance on sugar and salt within many of the processed foods the public consumes. One potential reason that the report gives for this is that, on average, highly processed foods are three times cheaper per calorie than healthier foods.
However, consuming these highly processed foods can have a negative effect on general health. The report states, "Poor diet contributes to an estimated 64,000 deaths every year in England. More than half of over-45s are living with diet-related health conditions."
The role of sugar in tooth decay is well documented and accepted. Henry’s report reinforces this link by providing data suggesting that children of five years old are three times more likely to experience tooth decay in low-income households due to these foods.
As a result, Henry’s report recommends a reformulation tax on sugar and salt. However, the government is reluctant to implement the tax due to the cost of living.
In response to the suggested tax, BBC News contacted Boris Johnson. His response confirmed he “was not attracted to extra taxes on hard-working people.”
The prime minister also added that the report would be studied for future proposals over the next six months. Until then, the government has decided to focus on extending free school meals and increasing spending on other schemes to improve the diet of lower income families.