Sugar Smart UK is our exciting new grassroots campaign to increase awareness of and reduce sugar consumption across all age groups and communities in the UK. In its pilot phase in Brighton and Hove, we’re currently partnering with the Brighton and Hove council and Public Health teams, as well as the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, to deliver actions and interventions across schools and hospitals, tourist attractions and even cricket grounds.

With soft drinks being the largest source of sugar consumption for school-aged children and teenagers and the average British child set to eat their own body weight in sugar, every year by the time they reach five years, Sugar Smart UK is on a mission to educate!

In the five months since the campaign began, primary and secondary schools, universities, restaurants, retailers, hospitals, tourist attractions and sports and leisure facilities across Brighton have stepped up and joined. Including Sussex County Cricket Club, the VERY first sports ground to introduce a sugar levy on the sugary drinks sold on their grounds.

What’s more is that the community want these changes. A debate last year, which aimed to allow consultation and gauge opinion across the city, demonstrated just how much the people of Brighton wanted action:

82% of participants said action should be taken to help people in the city to reduce their sugar intake. 71% said their concern about sugar in food and drink has risen in recent years. 71% reported they wanted to reduce their sugar intake

So what’s happening across the city?

  • Jamie’s Kitchen Garden Project has been introduced to 26 primary schools
  • Brighton’s biggest leisure and tourist attractions, from the Pier to the Dome, are reviewing menus in their food outlets as well as promoting free water
  • Sussex Cricket Club has introduced the sugar levy across food outlets at the ground (over 200,000 people a year visit)
  • The Royal Voluntary Service has agreed to rebrand all its food outlets at The Royal Sussex Hospital to offer healthier choices and there are also plans to create a 100% healthy café at the Children’s Hospital
  • The University of Brighton is introducing the sugar levy as well as using sugar smart messaging across the campus. They are also planning a pilot of Jamie’s Ministry of Food student cookery course
  • 150 food and restaurant outlets across the city are making sugar smart commitments and promoting free water
  • We are putting on events at the Children’s Food Festival and will also have a major Sugar Smart presence at the Take Part Festival in June which will be attended by 10,000 people!

We are also asking all these bodies to sign up to support the Children’s Health Fund (CHF) by introducing a sugar tax on all soft drinks with added sugar.  All money raised will support health and food education programmes for children.

2016 has the potential to be a crucial year if we are to turn the tide on obesity and sugar consumption. Watch this space for more news on getting the UK Sugar Smart!

Did someone say Vending Machine stickers?! Download resources here.

For more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, email foodrevolution@jamieoliver.org.