A PIONEERING healthy eating initiative has been shortlisted for a national award.

Tendring Council teamed up with Brentwood Council and Basildon Council for the Tuck In initiative, run by the Essex Local Authorities Food Group.

The scheme has now reached the finals of the Local Government Chronicle Awards 2019, which will be held in London in March, in the Public Health category.

The scheme sees officials at Essex councils work with food businesses to help them provide a healthy offering to the public.

It focuses on key areas, such as reducing salt and sugar content, using healthy oils and offering smaller sized portions, as well as offering nutrition training to the businesses and encouraging them to serve healthier options.

Tuck In has proved so successful that it is now being rolled out in other areas, such as Luton and Thurrock.

It was initially set up with funding from Essex County Council to tackle high obesity rates, and more than 180 businesses signed up.

Michael Talbot, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for environment, said being shortlisted for the top award was thoroughly deserved.

“Tuck In is really taking a different approach to tackling obesity – while there are lots of schemes which aim to nudge the public eating takeaway food, this looks at making sure what is provided is as healthy as it can be,” he said.

“I am pleased at how well Tuck In is working across Essex, with all the councils getting involved, and this success can be seen by the approach from Luton to roll-out the scheme there.”

“This shortlisting is further recognition of Tuck In’s effectiveness, and I believe the team can go all the way to scoop the award.”

Jon Blyth from Crispin’s sandwich shop in Clacton said the business was really benefitting from the scheme.

He added: “The support offered by Tuck In helps us to offer healthy food, which not only keeps existing customers happy but helps to draw new ones in.

“I would really recommend the scheme to other food businesses.”

The LGC Award winners will be announced at a prestigious ceremony in London in March.