Sheffield Food Book

Fuelling behaviour change with a low-sugar cookbook and OOH campaign

Our ‘Sheffield is Sweet Enough’ campaign is designed to encourage an entire community to eat less sugar through information, education and inspiration. Launched on behalf of Sheffield City Council in 2019, this five-year-campaign aims to reduce tooth decay and obesity in the city by providing local people with the tools they need to eat healthy, nutritious meals. Over the past few years, we’ve been working with stakeholders to find new and exciting ways we can bring local people on the journey.

Interpret + Define

To create real and lasting behaviour change, it’s important to understand your audience’s needs and find the right methods to engage with them. From the very beginning, we have had conversations with local people that have informed our campaign messages and strategic development. Our latest research revealed three core areas where knowledge was lacking among residents:

1) People didn’t know what the recommended daily limits of sugar were for children and adults set by Public Health England (PHE)

2) Local families didn’t understand how these guidelines related to the food and drink they were consuming each day

3) Everyone needed guidance on how to make healthier choices and low-sugar swaps

We had already addressed these gaps on the campaign website – – but needed to find a way to get the message right into the heart and hands of the Sheffield community.

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Imagine + Create

We decided to curate a book of low-sugar recipes to tackle the three main barriers to adopting a low-sugar diet: cost, convenience and cooking skills. We wanted the book to be written by the people for the people. So, we set to work contacting local nurseries, Sheffield Hallam University Nutrition students, businesses, nutritionists and families to submit their recipes and start collating content for the book.

We sourced simple recipes to suit all age groups: weaning, breakfast, snacks, lunchbox ideas, drinks and family meals. We were also keen to cover some of the information our audience groups said they were lacking.

So, the book contains advice on how much sugar is too much, including information on the traffic light system and sugar labelling, as well as plenty of smart sugar swaps, oral health tips and a spice and seasoning guide.

To maximise exposure, we planned to follow the book launch with an OOH campaign in the same graphic style directing people to the website to find out more.

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Rise + Shine

We got to work developing a distinct visual design for our book which was named ‘The Sheffield Family Guide to Smart Sugar Swaps’. All recipes had to be checked and formatted for consistency and we rewrote or edited the copy for all one hundred pages.

Next, came the publishing. To make the enterprise more cost-effective, we worked with local print house, Meze Publishing, on a Buy One Give One concept. For every book sold, one is gifted to a family who either needs some low-sugar ideas; needs to eat less sugar due to health reasons; or couldn’t otherwise afford one. The recipients of the free books are nominated by our partners at nurseries, schools, healthcare settings, charities and community groups in Sheffield.

The Sheffield Family Guide to Smart Sugar Swaps went on sale in July 2021 at Waterstones and various independent bookstores in the city. The launch was supported by an OOH campaign which ran in two bursts on phone kiosks and bus shelters in our target areas. This was complemented by a social media campaign on Instagram and Facebook.

We’ve recently developed our online communications so that more people can find out about and access the book and more deserving families can receive one.