The Derbyshire Dales has hosted a special event in the continuing success of the countywide Heart of Derbyshire scheme, which encourages people to make healthier food choices while boosting local businesses at the same time.
The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House has become the 100th food establishment to sign up as a Heart of Derbyshire member since the scheme was launched in September.
The Heart of Derbyshire campaign aims to help tackle obesity and reduce heart attacks and strokes by aiming to increase the range and variety of healthy options and healthy food available to Derbyshire people.
Here in the Dales, your District Council plays a key role in administering the scheme, and Chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales, Councillor Carol Walker attended the Bakewell presentation. She said:
"The District Council is delighted to support this excellent healthy food initiative through its inspection of food premises for the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme. Our environmental health team also undertake audits to ensure those signed up meet their pledges.
"It's terrific that 100 businesses have signed up already, and I would recommend that all of us look out for the Heart of Derbyshire logo, particularly when shopping local in the run-up to Christmas."
One of the main elements of Heart of Derbyshire is an awards scheme which recognises pledges made by local food businesses to offer healthier food choices to customers.
Food businesses, from takeaways, restaurants and cafes to pubs, sandwich shops, works canteens and even bed and breakfasts, are encouraged to register for free for the awards scheme, which, if they meet the criteria, sees them become Heart of Derbyshire members.
Businesses are awarded a certificate which they can display on their premises and are featured in the Heart of Derbyshire section of Derbyshire County Council's website.
Pledges businesses can make range from using less fat, salt or sugar in their products to offering smaller portion sizes as a choice or using more vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
The business also needs to have achieved a minimum food hygiene rating of three from their local district or borough council before qualifying.
There are three levels of membership – bronze, silver and gold – and the category businesses achieve depends on their food hygiene rating and the number of pledges they make.
The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House, in Matlock Street, Bakewell, has achieved a Gold level Heart of Derbyshire membership and has made a range of pledges including using less fat, sugar and salt and giving customers a choice of fruit, vegetables or salad with dishes they order instead of less healthy alternatives.
While customers can still choose full fat options, a wide range of healthier options are available.
The café, which has a five star hygiene rating, only uses lean mince, trims excess fat off meat and offers to grill or poach food, as well as not adding salt to its dishes.
Owner Zoe McBurnie said:
"The first time I heard about the Heart of Derbyshire, I thought it was a great idea for a business like ours and we're thrilled to be the 100th member. It was really interesting to see how much we already did to make our food healthier.
"It's good for us and good for our customers to know the efforts we make to keep our food as healthy as possible. Bakewell tart isn't particularly good for you but we have a lot of other healthier food to offer and we always serve fruit with our tarts.
"Everyone's more aware of healthy eating and we've certainly noticed in our shop that the amount of people who are looking for more nutritious food has risen lately."
Businesses that are accepted as Heart of Derbyshire members have their details included on the Heart of Derbyshire webpages.
People visiting the Heart of Derbyshire web pages can search for businesses near them that are scheme members and can also search by food type, for example curry, or by pledge, for example, pledging to use less salt.
Businesses that have already registered are now displaying their gold, silver or bronze certificates on their premises and the Heart of Derbyshire logo on their doors or windows.
There are around 156,000 obese adults in Derbyshire (24.7%), with significant variations seen across the county, ranging from 19.5% in the Derbyshire Dales to 31% in Bolsover. In total it is estimated that 423,000 (66.9%) of Derbyshire people could be classed as overweight or obese.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said:
"Obesity and the health issues relating to it are a national issue and we are very keen to do whatever we can to tackle this problem in Derbyshire.
"We don't want people to stop enjoying having meals out or takeaways, but we want there to be healthy options for them to choose when they do."