One of today’s headlines is the “national food strategy” which aims to tackle one of the many food-related issues, food poverty and food insecurity.
This government-commissioned report, led by the Leon restaurant co-founder Henry Dimbleby, suggests that ‘up to 1.5 million more children in England should get free school meals to help tackle a growing crisis of food poverty and unhealthy eating’.
As Dimbleby points out in the report, “before lockdown Britons spent a smaller proportion of income on meals at home than any other Europeans … [Britons have] many rush meals, eat less together as families, and rely more on takeaways.” In short, “the UK does not place as high a value on cooking as our continental neighbours.”
While many of us are pleased with the unusual opportunity to improve our cooking skills during the lockdown, others who lack the skills or means to bake or cook at home suffer immensely. The lockdown experience and the publication of Dimbleby’s report highlight the timeliness and importance of the collaboration I formed with the non-for-profit company Bags of Taste.
Bags of Taste believe everyone should be able to afford good food. They task themselves to teach people how to improve their diet.
In spring term 2019/20, my students on the module ‘Strategic Digital Communication’ worked on the live brief set by the founder of Bags of Taste Ltd., Alicia Weston, to develop multi-channel advertising campaigns to raise awareness of food poverty and persuade people to subscribe to the Bags of Taste courses.
Unfortunately, my cunning idea of getting my students to experience Bags of Taste’s cooking classes was hit by the ‘lockdown’ during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bags of Taste is also hit by Covid19 so they can’t run face-to-face courses. We don’t know how Bags of Taste’s unique approach will transpire given the Covid-19 pandemic. Without the first hand experience with cooking, it is more difficult to convert people from takeaway to home made food, I imagine.
I guess it’d be a challenge for us to deliver a strategic communication plan in the era of the pandemic. Can AR or VR help to deliver a more effective (and more sensational) message?