The Food Revolution – A very personal revolution

This week’s blog is brought to you by Erik Brown of Grayhawk Consulting and stems from a conversation we had a few weeks ago about the food revolution in the UK.  I was in the midst of writing a content strategy for the BBC Good Food Shows and Erik; beginning to work with a new food concept so we were coming from it from different ends of the consumer market – mainstream and niche:


Google the words ‘food revolution’ and you’ll find at the top of the results page John and Ocean Robbins’ Food Revolution Network. A little further down you’ll see British TV chef Jamie Oliver.


John Robbins was heir to the Baskin Robbins ice-cream empire until he ‘walked away from the money and the power after realising that ice-cream made people unhealthy’. His book Diet for a New America was a best seller; Ocean, is his son. The network claims 350,000 members.


You are probably aware that Jamie Oliver has lambasted the food we serve to our children in schools. But there is more to it than that: his talk on has been seen by 6.8 million people and the committed, angry young man on stage is a long way from the cheeky-chappie of his Naked Chef years. It’s worth watching.


So, are we in the throes of a food health revolution? If the answer in America is a tub-thumping ‘hell, yeah’, in the UK, it is a more reticent, ‘perhaps’. Or, on a good day, a more determined ‘probably’.


For we Brits – still undemonstrative as a nation – it’s personal. Sure, we have the beautiful Hemsley Sisters spiralising courgettes on TV, and Nigella Lawson promoting avocado on toast. But if there’s a food health ‘movement’, it’s a movement of individual choices.


In the nation’s fastest-growing sport, the triathlon, getting on for 200,000 athletes a year are becoming full-time nutritionists as they get to grips with carb-loading. And of the 2.5 million in the UK who are living with or have been treated for cancer, many will turn to excellent books like The Anti-cancer Diet by French oncologist David Khayat MD to discover the health benefits of pomegranate and turmeric.


Throw in those concerned with climate change and animal welfare and those simply dismayed by pantomime food science – ‘Butter is bad for you’ … ‘Oh, no it’s not’ – and a picture begins to emerge in which individuals, perhaps many individuals, are taking back control of what goes into their bodies.


It may be reflected in the sales of spiralisers and avocados, and be visible in the nation’s 750 farmers’ markets, it may even play to our national mistrust of politicians and conglomerates, but it is happening.


So, where do you stand? Let us know.