The new austerity: What future for indulgence and excess?

Will Seymour
Future Foundation

At the start of the year, health is traditionally in the spotlight. Fresh from the indulgence of seasonal festivities, many of us make guilt-ridden resolutions and set personal goals with the vision of a healthier, fitter, more dynamic self.

More broadly, at a national and international level, health remains a growing pre-occupation for governments and policy makers as, in many countries, state budgets increasingly strain to cope with the effect of ageing populations and growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases.

For food and drink brands, specifically, certain ingredients are also coming into ever sharper, and often critical, focus. In the UK, 2014 has already seen significant share of voice in the media for anti-sugar campaigners, calling for a reduction of sugar in processed food and drink products and for its recognition as a dangerous contemporary addiction. In the US, last summer saw authorities in New York continue the "Pouring on the Pounds" campaign – an initiative designed to highlight the potentially unhealthy effects of consuming sugary drinks.