As the founder of a self-styled “food revolution”, Jamie Oliver has made a career of encouraging families to cook “fresh, real food”.
But now the celebrity chef faces the prospect of losing his reputation as a champion of healthy home-cooking, after signing a multi-million pound deal for frozen, ready-meals with one of the world’s biggest chicken producers.
Oliver is to put his name to a range of pre-prepared poultry products made by Sadia, a division of the Brazilian food giant BRF Brazil.
Sadia make delicious products such Kid's Club Chicken Nuggets which are very much aimed at children...
Nothing wrong with that, of course, unless you happen to be a mockney mouth-breathing self-publicist who spent years getting this stuff out of school canteens, in which case you could look like a greedy hypocrite.
While Oliver said the deal, worth £11.5 million, gave him an opportunity to make “lasting change on a large scale” in the country, critics suggested he was betraying his principles.
Elisabetta Recine, coordinator of the Observatory of Food Security and Nutrition Policies and a professor at the School of Nutrition at the University of Brasília, said the chef’s decision to work with Sadia was “regrettable”.
“He’s a public figure who has built his image on local produce, home-cooking and fresh food,” she said.
“Sadia is a chain linked to intensive production. He has betrayed the narrative that he has built. “Jamie Oliver won’t make Sadia better but Sadia will make Jamie Oliver worse.”
I'm not sure he could get any worse, but at least a few people are starting to him as he is.
PS. Oliver's big thing these days is the mad war on sugar. Sugar is such a basic part of the diet that no chef could take part in this crusade without being a hypocrite. For the record, his recipe for pork belly and watermelon salad in yesterday's Sunday Times has more sugar in it than a can of Dr Pepper. If the Sunday Times used the labelling system that Oliver has demanded for fizzy drinks, it would show seven teaspoons.