The government is asking food and drink firms to foot the bill for its Change4Life campaign – in return for a moratorium on legislation governing products high in fat, sugar or salt.

Confectionery and soft drinks giants such as Mars and Coca-Cola are among the companies that could take a larger role in funding healthy living campaigns.

The news came as health secretary Andrew Lansley announced plans to switch the Change4Life programme from “less a government campaign [to] a social movement”.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Faculty of Public Health yesterday, Lansley advocated a new “non-regulatory approach” across the grocery trade in exchange for private sector funding for pro-health campaigns.

“We will be progressively scaling back the proportion of taxpayer money spent on Change 4 Life,” said Lansley. “We want to engage others to make Change 4 Life really work.

"[But] no government campaign or programme can force people to make healthy choices. We want to free business from the burden of regulation, but we don’t want, in doing that, to sacrifice public health outcomes.”

Read more
Jamie’s school dinners campaign a failure, says Lansley (1 July 2010)
Veg consumption falls 11% in spite of 5-a-day (10 April 2010)
A tax on unhealthy foods? Fat chance! (27 March 2010)