What has come to light in different ways is that people do not know about food and how to cook it . We now have several generations that have no idea, so they rely on takeaways and junk food. My suggestion is that the effect that the pandemic has had on hospitality, that we use the unemployed cooks/chefs to teach people how to cook basic healthy food .This would have a knock on effect that people would eat better and not rely on takeaways and junk food, so also addressing the problem of obesity
So my idea is to set up places where people can go to learn to cook. Have a course for either one full week or one day a week for 6-8 weeks so people can be taught the basics. The staff from hospitality could be paid extra on top of unemployment benefit to use their skills and knowledge to teach cookery. The extra money would make up a little for what they lost in the last year, plus something to add to their CV,s. The people attending would be given time off work with pay so they can attend. Low income people cannot afford to do something if the lose out financially, and any extra payments would be on the understanding that the course in completed and verified.
The course would be were they would learn how how to prepare and cook so able to feed themselves (and family) for a week. The class should include how to shop for healthy and and budget friendly ingredients. The class must be simple and not lecturing, maybe show how similar ingredients could be used e.g. Cottage pie one day, spaghetti bolognaise another. Vegetarian options possible, not vegan, some people cannot afford or have knowledge to be vegan, if all they know is takeaways and junk food. Classes would also need to cater for different ethnicities, e.g. Indian /Caribbean. Portion control would also need to be addressed as a lot of people as well as supermarkets have lost the idea of what is normal/sufficient portion. A small addition to this would be a piece from a nutritionist to get away from silly ideas on diets and how to eat sensibly (proteins carbohydrates fats vitamins etc) but well.
As regards the food, here is where the supermarkets come in, as they seem to have done ok out of the pandemic. If they could put a package together of ingredients that could be supplied for the classes. I think at the moment on of the major ones is putting one together for people to buy food for a week, but again this is a big supermarket that not everyone has access to one. The need for better health and to help out out fishing industry, part of the cooking could be for fish , not the old fish and chips, but some people have never tried fish unlike people on the continent.
The class would need to supply a simple recipe book and if needed an online link so a person can watch again how something is prepared. Although online classes are available, nothing beats hands on teaching and extra little tips for instance, how to hold a preparation knife and the right way to stir something. In addition there would need to be as part of the classes on how to do an easy packed lunch for school children and how to cover school holidays(Get Marcus Rashford on this ).
So where could these classes be? They need to be in the community, not at some far away destination, as people do not have money for extra travel costs, so why not use some of the empty small shops near where people live to set up the classes. Some places have just betting shops and a whole load of takeaways covering a street .Give preference in these areas to small food shops ( lower or free council tax/business rates) as some places do not have any food shops .Adjust planning laws accordingly. Make kitchen equipment available, again supermarkets for chopping boards, saucepans etc, they will love the publicity, some homes do not have even basic equipment to prepare food.
In addition schools need to be teaching cookery again, not the silly stuff my daughters were taught , luckily I taught them properly. I have always thought schooling misses out on life skills. Every child should be able to read, write, work a bank account and feed themselves.These are skills that everyone should have whether a graduate, plumber or gardener.
So what is not needed, no great expensive advertising on television. No costly government cartoon adverts or anything endorsed by celebrities, chefs etc. No online bloggers who know nothing about cooking, just interested in getting their faces online. Facebook and Twitter? I am not sure, always seems to me people arguing or any having a fixed opinion, but then I could be biased.
Talk to local area councils as they are more in the know of which of their residents /areas would benefit. Social services are on the front line where they can see that proper diet would be a great help. In addition schools who also on the front line of seeing what children are in need and put information out via them to the parents. Although this seems aimed at people with families this should not exclude older people 20,30 and above. At the other end are the fit elderly who have now found themselves without their life partner who always did the shopping /cooking.
Finally check local job centres for unemployed cooks/chefs from hospitality in desperate need of work.
This pandemic has shown the wide gap between the haves (financially stable) and the have nots just clinging on and the state of our health.