The Guardian, p 1
By David Brindle and Jacqueline Maley
The Department of Health is negotiating with Sainsbury's about a joint campaign, to be fronted by the celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, to encourage families to make time to eat together more often as a key means of improving the nation's diet.
The move would mark a controversial departure for government public health campaigns in its tie-up with a commercial brand. A report commissioned by the health department and published yesterday argues that such partnerships should be encouraged, provided appropriate ethical guidelines are put in place.
It comes as research showed that over the past year spending on frozen foods had fallen almost 3%, with sales of frozen ready meals and meat products - including the Turkey Twizzlers ridiculed by Oliver during his influential TV series on school meals - down more than 8%.
The family meal has been highlighted as a prominent factor in social cohesion, as well as nutritional wellbeing. Surveys suggest that as few as three in 10 families now sit down to eat together more than once a week, with most of those watching television at the same time. This year, the dining table was dropped from the official basket of goods said to reflect the country's buying habits.