Top food innovators ask: where’s the love in PHE’s Eatwell Guide?

By Jonny Bingham

- Last updated on GMT

Jonny Bingham (left) and David Jones: ‘The whole thing looks like it belongs to post-war Britain’ (Photo©Sacha Ferrier)
Jonny Bingham (left) and David Jones: ‘The whole thing looks like it belongs to post-war Britain’ (Photo©Sacha Ferrier)

Related tags Food

As someone who comes from three generations of caterers, hoteliers and restaurateurs, and who has worked within food for the entirety of my working life, food has been a major part of my conscience for the last 30-odd years.

I was around in 1985 when Keith Floyd took us on his first culinary journey – one that was filled with glorious fresh fish, stunning locations, great passion, romantic oratory and plenty of wine to wash it down with.

It sparked a generation’s interest and began to turn people away from the steakhouse mentality of the 1970’s – where prawn cocktail, sirloin steak, Black Forest gateau and a Gaelic coffee were the height of mainstream gastronomy – towards the promise of new flavours from new lands only usually visited by Alan Wicker.

Gods of the kitchen

Since then, we have had a plethora of cooking shows that have really tantalised the nation’s taste buds and fuelled our desire to be more of a god or goddess within the domestic forum.

Jamie came along with his ‘really pukka’ mates and showed lads how to cook at home, because not many did before he said it was ok to do so. He absolutely set them alight with fresh possibilities and of what could be gained from the joy of food.

Fast forward to the present day, and we are bombarded by imagery, recipes, and diets that claim to change our lives. TV programmes that ramp up the jeopardy and sell us the myth so that we can all believe we can become as good as a Michelin-starred chef. Magazines that are filled with new tastes, textures and trends. And somewhere within all of this, we have all become ‘foodies’!

Sexy and life-affirming

This is how important food is to us all now. It is sexy and life-affirming. Yet, for some reason, all of those very important cues are sucked out like a mood hoover when it comes to Public Health England’s (PHE) Eatwell Guide.

Bingham & Jones

Jonny Bingham and David Jones are contract food innovators for the food industry. Having both worked in the hospitality and food manufacturing sectors, they have a wealth of culinary experience, which they use to assist food firms of all sizes with their new product development.

It is hard enough to make food manufacturing look remotely like it belongs to the same lineage – Greg Wallace’s Supermarket Shopping Secrets shenanigans can testify to that.

And given that everybody is busily engaging in new fandangled diets that all ultimately make life better because Joe Wicks with his chiselled torso said so, should surely make PHE look to publicise this really important message in imagery and words that engage with the intended recipients?

We would all buy into it if the Guide was turned into a source of relevant information. Yet, the whole thing looks like it belongs to post-war Britain rather than land that we inhabit.

I’m not touting for business here, but David (Jones) and I could do a bloody good job on improving it!

  • Read an exclusive interview with Bingham and Jones in the October edition of Food Manufacture magazine. Click here​ to order your copy.

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