Blog: Damned if you do…

Catherine Sleep | 21 November 2006

A new poll suggests that people are getting tired of hearing about healthy foods, with nearly half (47%) of UK adults saying they are fed up of being told which foods are good or bad for them.

The survey, carried out by Ipsos MORI’s retail division, also indicates that 45% believe the media has recently focused too heavily on healthy eating. Well, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, aren’t you?

Nobody likes being told what to do, but I believe the media has a clear responsibility to help inform consumers so they can make good food choices. TV wields such power, and I think it’s great when the main terrestrial channels devote programming resources to educate people about a good diet. They mainly do it in an entertaining way, after all (see an earlier blog for an example).

Another important role the media can play is in informing people about where food comes from; traceability hasn’t been a household word for long, but you can thank the media for pushing it up the public agenda and making people more aware of the origins of the food in their shopping trolley (or nice hemp bag, if they’re at a farmers’ market).

As far as I’m concerned, once everyone in Britain is getting their five daily portions of fruit and veg a day, and our children and teenagers know both where food comes from and how to prepare simple meals, then the media can back off. For now, more of the same, if you please.


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