What we do

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Lobbying and advocacy

Food Active actively advocates for healthier food and nutrition to benefit our local communities. This includes advocating for policy locally, regionally and nationally. Food Active worked with the NW Directors of Public Health and first called for a tax on sugary drinks at our launch in November 2013. Since then Food Active have worked locally and at national level with Action on Sugar and the Children’s Food Campaign in particular in making this case. The announcement of the Sugary Drinks Industry Levy represents a victory to campaigners.

We continue to campaign for tighter controls on soft drink companies and actively campaigned against the Coca-Cola truck visiting the North West in 2016.

Work still needs to be done to ensure the sugar tax is implemented and benefits the right people and Food Active would like to see stricter sugar allowances on sugary drinks brought into force in coming years. We also advocate for a similar tax to cover other sweet products in a bid to reduce sugar consumption across the board.

A second area of Food Active activity is advocating for tighter controls of junk food marketing to children which we have supported through lobbying and events. We will continue to work on this agenda item in the coming year.

We have been represented on a series of national food think tanks considering issues such as Food Policy post Brexit and Sustainable Food in the 21st Century.

Agenda Setting

Based on consultation with North West Directors of Public Health, we have a number of key objectives which we work towards. Ground breaking research into the public perception around the sugar tax and economic modelling on the cost benefit of a sugar tax to the NHS paved the way for further research into the benefits of a sugary drinks tax.

In 2016/17 we held ‘The Marketing of Junk Food to Children’ in Preston where Dr Emma Boyland and Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden presented their ground-breaking work, and the commissioner only event in September that hosted Emma Reed and Sharon Egan from the Department of Health.

We are taking part in national discussions on the nutritional guidance for Looked After Children following our successful Hearty Lives Liverpool  project which worked to improve the health and wellbeing of Looked After Children in Liverpool.


A key programme activity is to investigate public perceptions and level of support for specific policy interventions. In 2014 we commissioned LJMU to research public perception around a sugary drinks tax, this research was a catalyst for further UK wide research carried out by a number of institutions including the University of Oxford.

We conduct insight and research through partnerships with local universities and student placements. Additionally we have published research papers into a number of topics, primarily the sugar tax. Further details can be found in the resources section of the website.

Policy Guidance

Food Active are experienced in providing evidence based policy guidance, and are members of a number of local, regional and national steering groups. We have developed specific local authority policy on healthy weight as can be illustrated by the declaration launched in 2015. Not only has the declaration been adopted by a number of North West Local Authorities, but we provided expert guidance on the development of a Greater London Declaration which was launched in early 2017.

Public facing campaigns

Whilst much of our focus is on advocacy and policy guidance, we also engage with the public on health matters. Public support for healthy weight has resulted in successes including the sugary drinks tax.

The Give Up Loving Campaign launched in 2015 has received national recognition with areas as far as Guernsey using the resources. More locally, we have had great success in engaging with members of the public through roadshows and our vibrant street team and across social media.

Educational resources and briefing documents

Our team of experts have produced a number of briefing documents on our key objectives and we continue to produce relevant material to inform our commissioners and the public on key public health issues relating to healthy weight.

GULP school resources have been produced in collaboration with teachers and students to educate on the health harms of over consumption of sugary drinks. The resources are designed to be delivered as part of the PSHE curriculum for Key Stage 2 and 3.


Food Active are members of a range of influential groups – via Food Active – including the UKHF, Obesity Health Alliance, Children’s Food Campaign and World Obesity Federation. We also participate on a number of steering groups and boards, ensuring the local North West perspective is voiced.

Project Management

Our approach consists of a full project management work programme with Prince II expertise, including defining the problem, identifying priorities, planning a solution, mobilising resources, implementation and evaluation.


Training and other workforce development initiatives is key to achieving government health targets, particularly in relation to reducing lifestyle risk behaviours and tackling health inequalities.

We have delivered a number of training programmes, through the Give Up Loving Pop campaign, Food in Care ‘nutrition champions’ and Healthy Goals train-the –trainer project.