Uk News Why investors need to help the drive to tackle obesity by staying clear of junk food brands United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - Around £6bn of taxpayer cash per year is spent on obesity-related ill health, with the bill threatening to become unsustainable says Iona Bain, the founder of Young Money blog and author of Own It!
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Let’s talk about obesity. It massively increases the chances of serious illness and premature death, not least from COVID-19. Obesity levels have shot up from 15 to 28 per cent since 1993 and the most recent official data from 2020/2021 show childhood obesity rates range from 15.5 per cent to 32.1 per cent across the country, depending on the deprivation of the region.What has this got to do with money? Well, surely any responsible investor wants to avoid feeding the obesity epidemic. Not only does it kill and blight the lives of millions, but it also swallows up fiscal resources at a time when birth rates are falling, the population is aging, and growth is stalling. Even if you’re not troubled by the moral and economic issues, the investing case for junk food may become too flawed to ignore.The government has, for now, watered down its national food strategy that once promised to be “world-leading” and reverted to the old canard that people will have to use their willpower if they want to lose weight. But that still hasn’t stopped a ban on the prominent supermarket placement of products high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) being planned for October.Our leaders will eventually have no choice but to go all-out on the causes of obesity if we are to save both lives and the public purse: around £6bn of taxpayer cash per year is spent on obesity-related ill health, with the bill threatening to become unsustainable.The fight to stigmatise Big Tobacco was long, bitter but ultimately successful because the cost of smoking (in every sense) proved too great. Big Food will gradually succumb to these forces too. It will either adapt or die. What’s it to be?Kellogg’s is legally challenging the UK government over upcoming changes to HFSS promotions, saying it would cost £113bn in lost sales and cause “very significant damage” to the business. High Court documents seen by trade magazine The Grocer suggest the cereal-maker could halt legislation on the grounds that it hasn’t been approved or scrutinised by parliament. Even if Kellogg’s wins this battle, could it lose the war?More from MoneyEnergy suppliers hike costs with exit fees now 10 times higher than last year23 June, 2022House prices rise to £281k but market slowing amid cost of living crisis, say experts22 June, 2022What record inflation means for small businesses who 'hiked prices but lost customers'22 June, 2022Mars has launched lower-sugar, higher-fibre versions of its chocolate bars in recent months.
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.There are pervasive arguments against the anti-obesity drive, and thus anti-obesity investing. Improving food production and limiting or taxing unhealthy options makes food more expensive for poorer families who cannot afford anything better than frozen pizzas and crisps. Besides, food doesn’t taste as good when its artificial ingredients are removed or reduced.However, a healthy diet can be far cheaper than an unhealthy one, though it does require more effort due to our obesogenic environment (my local Tesco express sells 30 varieties of biscuits, not one brand of high-fibre oatcakes). Non-sugar versions of products like pasta sauce and soup taste perfectly nice and even healthier batches of Mr Kipling cakes sell well and are still exceedingly good.When the public backlash eventually starts against companies that refuse to cut down their toxic ingredients or promote healthier alternatives, I don’t want to be on the wrong financial side of it. The question is: can we trust the managers of our pensions and ISAs to hop over in time?Institutional investors including Rathbones, Legal & General Investment Management, BMO, BNP Paribas, and Aviva have written to the Prime Minister to call for mandatory reporting on health and sustainability across the food industry.Without this, investors cannot properly assess which companies are committed to tackling obesity and unethical food production. It’s about time we challenged the double-standard which requires firms to report risks relating to the climate but not public nutrition. Is your pension fund on board with this or not?In some quarters, we still see an immature and topsy turvy approach to ESG (environmental, social and governance) stuff that ignores health. The ice cream brand Ben & Jerrys, part of Unilever, pontificates about social justice whilst selling diabetes in a tub. Major institutional shareholders in McDonalds who claim to be ESG aware stand accused of letting the fast-food chain backslide on promises to tackle antibiotic overuse in its livestock.The debate around ESG investing has for too long been dominated by a single issue. But there is little point in saving the planet if the next generation is too ill, fat, and miserable to appreciate it. Most people who have seen a loved one killed by obesity, as I have, would strongly agree. That’s why it’s refreshing to see some institutional investors finally take this crisis seriously – rather than copying the politicians in kicking the (Coca-Cola) can down the road.Iona Bain is the founder of Young Money blog and author of Own It!
Source = PremierLeague-News.Com