When: November 2018
We’ve recognised three distinct kinds of support required from investors for challenger brands to bring about change at scale in a highly competitive marketplace:
“Tackling childhood obesity will require many interventions across our society. But it will not happen unless food businesses succeed in creating and marketing healthy products that are every bit as tasty and fun as the junk they marketed in the past.”
Henry Dimbleby, co-founder of Leon Restaurants and co-author of The School Food Plan
Food producers and retailers can play a vital role in tackling childhood obesity by addressing the unmet need for healthy, affordable food options, especially for families on lower incomes.
Our report provides new insight into how ‘challenger brands’ – those that look to drive change within the food industry – can offer new alternatives on the market. With the UK food spend of families on lower incomes (earning less than £20,000 a year per household) estimated at £6.5 billion last year, there’s appetite in the market for changes towards accessible and healthier food choices.
Rates of childhood obesity in the UK continue to rise, with over a third of children now leaving primary school obese or overweight.
People’s eating behaviour is strongly affected by their environments; and those living in more deprived areas are typically faced with higher volumes of unhealthy food options when they step out their door, with less money and headspace to find healthy alternatives.
Purchasing trends show that whilst all families spend most of their food budget in supermarkets, the food offer that is most accessible to families on the lowest incomes often has low nutritional value.
Likewise, it means that for families on the lowest incomes (under £10,000 per year) to meet the recommendations of the Eatwell Guide, they would have to spend up to 60% of their disposable income on food.
This report used new analysis to understand the role of challenger brands in tackling childhood obesity: for the first time, the Food Foundation has combined Kantar Worldpanel and Living Costs and Food Survey data highlighting consumer purchasing trends amongst family households on lower incomes, as well as qualitative research with challenger brands from across the world focused on delivering nutritious food products at an affordable price.
We can now better understand how challenger brands can support more positive food environments for families at the highest risk of childhood obesity, as well as the over-arching support needed for the food sector going forwards.
The unique combination of data in this report has helped us understand what families on lower incomes eat, where they buy food, and how trends are changing.
One of our aims was to understand the support required for challenger brands to bring about change at scale in a highly competitive marketplace, and whether there was an appetite for specialised investment and support in this space.
We’ll be using this insight to work with Big Society Capital to design a support infrastructure that can help the emerging ‘good food’ challenger brand sector to grow sustainably and will be looking to partner with other philanthropists and investors in this mission.