Fife Diet on Tesco and a ‘cynical ploy’

Mike Small of Fife Diet
Mike Small of Fife Diet

An award-winning Burntisland project has called on the Government to take a stance against a supermarket giant’s plans to teach food education in Scottish schools.

The Fife Diet, one of Europe’s largest food projects, has launched a campaign to try and stop Tesco from taking its new food education drive into the classroom.

The local group’s stance, which has been backed by Scotland’s sustainable local food network, Nourish Scotland; business Whitmuir Organics, and several food writers, comes as the food giant recently announced a massive programme to teach school children where their food comes from.

The Tesco ‘Eat Happy’ project aims to help kids have a better relationship with food, to help them make healthier choices, and to learn about the journey it takes to get to their plates.

But Fife Diet founder Mike Small believes the move is a “cynical ploy” to establish an early connection with the supermarket shoppers of the future.

He said: “If Tesco really cared about children eating well and being happy, it should give the £15m investment to the Government to improve food education and provision in schools.

“It’s absurd a retailer that still actively promotes highly-sugared drinks and foods as part of a child’s “healthy” diet should now position itself as a guide on good diet for children.”

He added: “We would urge the Scottish Government to state clearly there is no place for Tesco to teach food education in Scottish schools.”

A spokesman for Tesco said: “Eat Happy will help improve our children’s understanding of where food comes from and how to make healthier choices. We have been supporting food education programmes for many years in Scotland.

“Eat Happy is a substantial investment, and will give Scottish children the tools to follow the food supply chain from farm to fork, growing their understanding of Scotland’s rich larder.

‘‘Feedback from teachers has been really positive.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said legislation puts health promotion at the heart of a school’s activities.

He added: “We have pledged more than £3m over 2010-15 to support food education in schools, helping pupils to learn about where their food comes from and the impact it has on their health.”