A new award scheme for food businesses which promote healthy eating in Middlesbrough has been launched.
The scheme, part of Middlesbrough’s Healthy Town ‘Food4Health’ programme, helps businesses make the food they provide to customers as healthy as possible.
Already dozens of businesses are involved in the scheme and several, including Middlesbrough College, Poppets Day Nursery in Park End and Café Meo’s at Roseberry Park hospital, have achieved a Gold Award.
Public Health Officer Rachel McIlvena said: “The Food4Health programme has been helping people to learn more about healthy eating.
“The Healthy Eating Awards Scheme is now being launched to help food businesses improve the nutritional quality of the food they serve and give consumers the ability to make more informed and healthier food choices.
“We have developed the awards scheme with support from local food businesses and we have been giving them advice on adopting healthier food preparation methods, healthy menu planning and how to promote healthy eating to their customers.”
Specialist nutritional advice was provided using a software programme which calculates the different constituents of food.
Lesley Foy, deputy manager at Poppets Day Nursery, said: “The award scheme has helped the nursery because it has given us more awareness of the nutritional needs of the children.
“It’s helped us re-arrange our menus over a four week period to give them a more balanced nutritional structure.
“The programme is going to give the children more awareness from a young age of which foods are good for them.”
Councillor Brenda Thompson, the Council’s Executive Member for Public Health and Sport said, “The choices people make about food have far-reaching consequences on their health and well-being.
“Tackling the causes of poor health and giving people a real opportunity to find out more about the food they buy and improve their diet are vital parts of our public health agenda.
“Food businesses are ideally situated to raise awareness of the need to eat healthier foods. It is our pleasure to support and reward the contribution that is made by local food businesses to improve the diet and health of their customers.”
The Food4Health programme has already been helping people who volunteer or work with community groups in Middlesbrough to learn how to cook a variety of healthy dishes, build their confidence and develop their ability to pass on their new skills through community cooking sessions.
The new Health Eating Awards Scheme for Middlesbrough’s food businesses has been launched on Monday, March 14 at Middlesbrough College.