Eat Balanced shares whats been happening at HQ.
Eat Balanced wins Commitment to Health at Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards
On the 2nd June ’16, Scotland’s premier food and drink awards, we claimed our first Excellence Award – Commitment to Health.
Having tried four times before, this was our first award at the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards. The winners are chosen by an independent panel of judges from all aspects of the food and drink industry.
Here’s what our lovely Managing Director and myself had to say:
“We are so pleased to win this award, as it’s a very welcome reward and recognition for several tough years trying to get a healthier food company off the ground,” stated Donnie Maclean, Founder and Managing Director.
Sales and Marketing Director, Katie Sillars explained, “We have always had a focus on health, since we began 4 years ago. However, when the supermarkets didn’t work out for us, we changed our strategy and focused in on the kids market. This was because we realised the simple fact that people care more about their kid’s health than their own health.”
In the UK, one fifth of children are overweight or obese when they begin school, and this figure increases to one third of children when they leave school. We are committed to improving these statistics with our products, as well as visits to schools and speaking at conferences throughout the country.
We’ve worked with a leading professor of nutrition, Mike Lean, from University of Glasgow to create a range of pizzas that are as nutritious as the can be without children being able to tell that they are better for them. The pizzas are sold under the Pizza Power Kids brand.
As well as running our food company, where we provide our healthier pizzas into schools, family restaurants and the leisure industry, Donnie and I hold additional positions which demonstrates our commitment to health. I am a part of a food reformulation group and part of the Scotland Food & Drink Forum. Donnie is one of 12 people selected to be on the Scottish Government’s Food Commission, which has a remit to make progress towards Scotland becoming a “Good Food Nation”.
We’re both not only passionate about the healthier food that we sell, we also share a passion for endurance sports. This summer, we are raising money for various charities. Both are kayaking the 50 mile perimeter of Loch Ness in one day in early July, with 5 others in the food industry. In mid August, Donnie is swimming one million metres this year, including the full length (26 miles) of Loch Lomond of a small children’s cancer charity, and I (Katie) am running the Berlin Marathon at the end of September. Yes, we are both gluttons for punishment!
 House of Commons Health Committee, Childhood obesity – brave and bold action, First report of session 2015 – 2016, November 2015
Eat Balanced are finalists for two Scottish food and drink awards
We’re delighted to announce that we have been short-listed for two Scottish food and drink awards this year.
Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards 2016
Commitment to Health sponsored by Rowett Institute
Eat Balanced is among 48 Scottish food and drink businesses that have been selected to feature on the ultimate shortlist, as the finalists for the renowned Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards are revealed.
We’re pleased that our ‘health by stealth’ approach has been recognised. We’ve worked really hard on our mission to make it “easier for kid’s to enjoy a balanced diet”. Our commitment to health runs throughout our entire organisation, from our core values, our full product range, services and partnerships.
Catering Institute Scotland (CIS) Excellence Awards 2016
The Business Innovation Award, sponsored by Bidvest Scotland
This award aims to identify and showcase the vast range of uniquely innovative products, services, technologies, customer offers and applications available within the Scottish hospitality, catering and tourism industry.
We’re proud to be reinventing kid’s favourite foods into nutritionally balanced meals, which are still tasty and affordable within food service.
Pizza Power Kids, the first of our exciting ranges to launch into schools, leisure venues and family pub chains. We’re now serving over 60,000 kids at school, and on the menu across over 100 individual sites. We also have a further two product ranges, using innovative ingredients, that are helping kids enjoy balanced meal.
Thanks to everyone that has supported us on our journey so far, and we’ll let you know how we get on!
Sugar Drinks Tax – will it really work?
We recently commented on the UK Government’s report calling for Bold and Brave action to tackle childhood obesity. This included a number of recommendations, including a sugar drinks tax on full sugar soft drinks. With George Osborne’s recent announcement in the March 2016 budget to introduce a 20% tax on high sugar soft drinks, we looked at the arguments from various angles:
The nutrition argument on the sugar drinks tax
David Cameron has been under pressure for some time from the medical profession, medical charities and high profile campaigners to set a 20% tax on fizzy sugar-sweetened drinks. The cited reasons for this decision were:
- In the UK, one fifth of children are overweight or obese when they begin school, and this figure increases to one third by the time they leave primary school.
- Rotting teeth are the most common reason for children aged between five and nine to be admitted to hospital, and dentists are seeing more young children having the majority of their baby teeth removed.
An overwhelming body of evidence suggests that our children are getting fatter, have poorer dental health, and as obesity is primarily caused by excess calorie intake in relation to energy expenditure, the youngest generation are not taking enough exercise.
With a third of all children’s intake of sugar from fizzy drinks, we at Eat Balanced ask, is a sugar tax on soft drinks a good thing? Especially when the tax revenues will be spent on increasing physical activity in children?
The poverty argument on the sugar drinks tax
There is a strong correlation between poverty and obesity. In fact, the number one reason we hear for why families do not buy healthier food and drinks is because they are seen as too expensive.
A recent study argues that the sugar drinks tax will not stop people from poorer backgrounds buying full sugar drinks. Published by the international research journal, Dr Bratanova states that, “Feeling poor and feeling unequal can simultaneously influence eating behaviour, pushing people to approach high calorie food and consume larger amounts of it.”
On the other hand, Public Health England state that “Increasing the price of high sugar food and drink, whether through taxation or other means, is likely to reduce purchases of these products, at least in the short term.
A third angle here is that many commentators believe that the resulting price increase will only encourage consumers to “downgrade” to cheaper brands of the soft drinks, which will offset some or all of the price increase. Worse still, the consumer could actually opt for the larger bottles, where we have noticed promoted 2 litre bottles of full sugar colas actually costing LESS than a 500ml bottle!
While looking for examples of other countries who have implemented a similar tax, following the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened drinks of 10% in Mexico, an overall average 6% reduction in purchases of sugar sweetened drinks was seen in 2014, with higher reductions in purchasing of around 9% on average being seen in lower socio-economic households.
The industry argument on the sugar drinks tax
As a small business, at Eat Balanced we know how hard it can be for businesses to compete in a tough, global economy. Yes, full sugar soft drinks do contain a lot of sugar, but is it unfair to penalise certain suppliers and customers, when there are so many other foods which contribute to excess sugar?
AG Barr, makers of Irn Bru, experienced a substantial drop in the value of its shares as soon as the sugar drinks tax was announced in the chancellor’s budget. They stated that they had already cut sugar levels so the measure was “extremely disappointing”.
However, measures have been taken in the past to improve public health with little effect on health, like the UK Government’s Responsibility Deal (RD) in 2011, which set out a series of voluntary measures for the food and drink industry to sign up to.
Though reformulation was most commonly listed in the delivery plans, something which we at Eat Balanced make our mission to do, the act of signing up to the voluntary agreements motivated disappointingly few organisations to implement such interventions. The “softly, softly” approach seemed to have failed. Therefore, in order to make an impact, the UK government seems to have decided that a specific sugar tax might be one of the few options to get companies to actually make a difference.
The tobacco and alcohol argument
Although the sugar drinks tax is a bold and brave action which sends out a huge message to the food and drink industry, as well as the public, it is a long way from being the solution to the much bigger picture. In the same way that banning smoking in public buildings was only one significant early step towards the huge improvements that we have seen in the instance of smoking in the UK.
In our opinion, the sugar drinks tax will only work as part of a larger obesity strategy. Indeed, Joanna Lewis, Food for Life Strategy and Policy Director commented: “The Budget announcement of a sugary drinks tax from 2018 is a hugely symbolic and significant step forwards for the long-awaited Childhood Obesity Strategy.”
The 3A’s approach was adopted successfully by the tobacco and alcohol industry.
The strategy is hoped to adopt a similar approach and address the issues relating to:
- Affordability – e.g. like the new sugar tax, making high sugar drinks less affordable
- Availability – e.g. like the smoking ban, making it less easy to smoke in public
- Acceptability – e.g. like the ban on drink driving with a number of advertisements making it socially unacceptable to drink and drive
A Government tax is a drastic action and can be seen by some as an unfair measure. However, with childhood obesity reaching crisis point, this suggests that it is an issue of child protection. The team here at Eat Balanced believe that it sends a huge message to the food and drink industry, and perhaps healthy eating and reformulation will now be taken more seriously. If reformulation is stepped up and seen as a crucial part of a wider strategy it’s something which can only be a good thing.
Health and Social Care Information Centre, National Child Measurement Programme – England, 2013-14, Dec 2014
Royal College of Surgeons Faculty of Dental Surgery, The state of children’s oral health in England, January 2015, p5
Public Health England, Sugar Reduction – the evidence for action, October 2015, p23
Public Health England, Sugar Reduction – the evidence for action, October 2015, p23
The healthyliving award for the food service sector
The healthyliving award is a national award for the food service sector in Scotland. Eating out plays an important part in people’s lives and what people are increasingly looking for is good healthier food. We’re delighted that our Pizza Power Kids’ range ticks all the boxes for the healthyliving award.
Putting Caterers and Parents on the Podium
Caterers can now rest assured that they can let kids eat their favourite food, and parents will be glad to know that it is actually improving their health. Pizza Power Kids, means that children can eat a pizza which is a complete balanced meal. One small pizza provides 15% of all the nutrients a child aged 5-10 needs for good health.
Food of the future for our future generation
There is no denying that children love pizza. It regularly tops their list of favourites. However with Scotland having one of the highest levels of obesity in the world, with almost one third of Scottish children classed as overweight, parents and caterers are, quite rightly, are careful in how often the average pizza is served to kids because of the high calorie, salt and fat content.
That’s why Pizza Power Kids have been designed to look and taste like a normal pizza but has secret nutritional ingredients inside, and that’s why we call it ‘health by stealth’.
How can Pizza Power Kids help with the healthyliving award?
These revolutionary new pizzas have seaweed instead of salt, are lower in fat and are high in vitamin C and vitamin A with more fibre than many other foods for children. Parents can enjoy peace of mind that their children are getting all of the 27 nutrients they need in the right proportions, equating to a complete balanced meal. For children, they can still enjoy one of their favourite meals with all the same great taste.
If you are in the food service industry and would like to find out more about the Pizza Power Kids range, please get in touch and we’ll send you a brochure and some yummy samples.
Pizza Power Kids and Food for Life Award
We’re often asked how Pizza Power Kids fit with the Soil Association’s Food for Life Award? In terms of what we are actually trying to achieve, we have quite a lot in common with the Food for Life Award.
What are Eat Balanced trying to achieve with Pizza Power Kids?
It’s simple, we want to make it easier for kids to enjoy a balanced diet. How we do this is by reinventing kid’s favourite foods with innovative, high quality ingredients into tasty, nutritionally balanced meals.
What are the Soil Association trying to achieve with the Food for Life Award?
Making healthy, tasty and sustainable meals the norm for all to enjoy, reconnecting people with where their food comes from, teaching them how it’s grown and cooked, and championing the importance of well-sourced ingredients.
Pizza Power Kids and Food for Life
Despite being a prepared product, Pizza Power Kids carries a lot of benefits compared to making from scratch and other prepared pizzas, such as:
- Eat Balanced are a Scottish start-up based in Glasgow
- Our products are manufactured in Glasgow
- We work with a Professor of the University of Glasgow – Professor Mike Lean – to verify our recipes (which are lab tested to prove they are nutritionally balanced)
- Salt is replaced with a special powdered seaweed from the Isle of Lewis in Scotland
- They are low in sugar
- Psyllium husk is used for added fibre which means the base is lighter in colour and texture to wholewheat bases
- Roasted red pepper puree is blended into the sauce for added vitamin C and vitamin A
Our pizzas are suitable for the Bronze Food for Life Award being free from the undesirable additives, trans fats and GM ingredients.
For Silver and Gold, as they are points based standards, our pizzas also carry points under the making healthy eating easier category. This includes:
- Reducing salt
- Having meat free days
- Cutting plate waste
- Supporting eating well
- Monitoring against food and nutrient based standards
- 50% of bread on offer is wholegrain
We agree that the Food for Life programme achieves amazing results for schools, nurseries and hospitals and we’re delighted to be supporting the healthy eating message.
Supporting Healthy Choices Framework in Scotland
We’re delighted to be the first start-up to have partnered with the Scottish Government and Food Standards Agency in Scotland on Supporting Healthy Choices (SHC), a framework whereby Partner organisations to commitments that aim to improve Scotland’s diet and reduce health inequalities.
We believe that the food and drink industry (manufacturers, retailers, food service and brands) should play their part, not just a token effort! At Eat Balanced, here’s what we’re dedicated to doing:
Provide and incentivise healthier meal deals, especially where customers include school-age children purchasing lunch.
Our Promise: To make it easier for children to enjoy a balanced meal at school lunch times. That’s why we’ve launched our Pizza Power Kids multi-serve pizza as a nutritious, tasty and cost effective option for schools.
Rebalance their food and drink offering and promotions, both in-store and online, to positively support consumers to make healthier choices.
Our Promise: To support caterers to positively promote Pizza Power Kids, that are lower in fat, salt and sugar without negatively affecting their profits.
Encourage healthier components in meal promotions.
Our Promise: to provide information to help caterers choose healthy toppings, side portions and drinks, to go alongside our Pizza Power Kids main meal, to promote a healthy balanced diet in line with the Eatwell plate and the Scottish Dietary goals.
Work with Scottish Government to consider how we can build upon existing practice on the responsible marketing of food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar in order to reduce children’s exposure to messaging.
Our promise: To educate and engage children on the importance of eating a balanced diet. We’re committed to hosting talks to kids about the important of a healthy diet. If you’re hosting a Healthy Eating day or event, please contact us.
Roll-out energy and, where possible, nutritional information on menus and displays (in print and online) across Scotland on an ongoing basis.
Our promise: to provide full nutritional information breakdown on all products in our Pizza Power Kids range to caterers.
Work towards reducing calories, fats, salt and added sugars.
Our promise: to work with the Scottish Government and other influential partners in the food industry, to work towards reducing, calories, fats, salt and sugars.
Work towards the HealthyLiving Award on an ongoing basis.
Our Promise: to continue to make our products compliant with the HealthyLiving Award.
CalMac adds healthy, Scottish innovation to its childrens’ menu
Healthy childrens menu
Launched during Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, an innovative Scottish pizza made using Scottish seaweed is proving popular with kids on board Caledonian MacBrayne ferries.
The company behind the innovation, Eat Balanced, believes in making it easier and enjoyable for kids to eat a balanced diet, with a new children’s range branded “Pizza Power Kids“. The pizzas have been designed with a leading Professor of Nutrition, to be high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals and lower in salt, fat and sugar.
Since moving its manufacturing to Scotland earlier this year, Glasgow-based Eat Balanced has continued to develop its original concept with more nutritious ingredients. CalMac was particulary excited about the use of seaweed, sourced from the crystal clear waters off the Isle of Lewis, which is used in the base to replace salt and add essential minerals.
Anne Mitchell, CalMac’s On Board Development Manager, says:
“We were delighted to put a new pizza on the menu that ticked so many boxes on healthy eating. It also helps us to maintain our “Taste our Best” accreditation, which recognises and celebrates excellent quality food and drink from Scottish companies.”
The “Taste our Best” scheme has been developed with Visit Scotland and Bidvest Foodservice Scotland as a way to encourage both internal and overseas tourists to sample and enjoy locally sourced produce from across Scotland.
Clearly, creating a tasty pizza is one of the most important factors for a successful kid’s menu item. Brand Director for Eat Balanced, Katie Sillars, states:
“The Pizza Power Kids motto is ‘Health by Stealth.’ The kids don’t necessarily need to know that it’s actually good for them, as long as they enjoy it and there are clean plates at the end. However, parents can rest assured that these are the most nutritious pizzas that we could make without the children being able to tell the difference. Our aim is to improve children’s nutrition by reinventing kids’ favourite foods into tasty balanced meals.”
The new healthy children’s pizza can be found on the Mariners Menu on-board Caledonian MacBrayne ferries across Scotland.
Notes to Editors
*Eat Balanced is based in Glasgow, Scotland, and currently sells its new Pizza Power Kids range into education, leisure and pub chains across the UK.
*For more information go to www.eatbalanced.com