Coffin maker reveals nearly 20 per cent of bodies need extra-large caskets

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A coffin maker revealed that the demand for extra large caskets is set to increase every year as Britain’s obesity crisis continues.  

Steven Mitchell, from Essex, founder of funeral comparison website Compare The Coffin, appeared on Dr Michael Mosley’s latest documentary Who Made Britain Fat?, which aired on Channel 4 last night. 

He revealed to the doctor that around 15 to 20 per cent of their coffins need to be 23 inches wide, and that the size of caskets has to increase every year to accomodate larger bodies. 

The biggest coffin Steve has had to build is 39 inches, and he says that with larger caskets comes larger burial plots, meaning an additional fee of around £400- £500 for family members. 

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Steven Mitchell, from Essex, founder of funeral comparison website Compare The Coffin, appeared on Dr Michael Mosley's latest documentary Who Made Britain Fat?, which aired on Channel 4 last night

Steven Mitchell, from Essex, founder of funeral comparison website Compare The Coffin, appeared on Dr Michael Mosley’s latest documentary Who Made Britain Fat?, which aired on Channel 4 last night

He revealed to the doctor that around 15 to 20 per cent of their coffins need to be 23 inches wide and that the size of caskets necessary for bodies is increasing every year

He revealed to the doctor that around 15 to 20 per cent of their coffins need to be 23 inches wide and that the size of caskets necessary for bodies is increasing every year

‘When I’m speaking to people, quite often the widest part of the person is no longer the shoulders [it’s their waist]’, said Steve, 

‘I’m having to have a very difficult conversation with the family about what size coffin you want to use. 

‘If you want a burial plot for an oversize person you are paying usually an additional fee, around about £400, £500 extra.’

Traditionally, old crematoriums would be either 30 or 33 inches wide, meaning an extra large coffin would just about squeeze into the larger crematorium. 

The biggest coffin Steve has had to build is 39 inches, and he says that with larger caskets comes larger burial plots, meaning an additional fee of around £400- £500 for family members

The biggest coffin Steve has had to build is 39 inches, and he says that with larger caskets comes larger burial plots, meaning an additional fee of around £400- £500 for family members

However, according to the programme, crematoriums are now having to plan for the future and are rebuilding at 46 inches wide.    

Mosley, 64, investigated government’s responsibility when it comes to the alarming rise in Britons living with obesity – with researchers finding an astonishing 689 policies had failed between 1992 to 2020. 

However one policy Mosley believes was beneficial to the obesity crisis was the sugar tax, which came into force in April 2018. 

The policy, driven largely by campaigner and chef Jamie Oliver, meant drinks with over 5g of sugar per 100ml paid a levy of 18p per litre to the government. 

However Jamie, 46, who worked closely with David Cameron’s government on introducing the tax, revealed challenges he faced when going up against the food and drink lobby. 

‘The food industry is the mother of all businesses,’ he said. ‘To think you can make structural change to reformulation or taxing and not get any grief, I don’t know.

Jamie Oliver, 46, who worked closely with David Cameron's government on introducing the sugar tax, revealed challenges he faced when going up against the food and drink lobby

Jamie Oliver, 46, who worked closely with David Cameron’s government on introducing the sugar tax, revealed challenges he faced when going up against the food and drink lobby

Pictured, a graph chef and campaigner Jamie would show former Prime Minister David Cameron every time they met to discuss a potential sugar tax

Pictured, a graph chef and campaigner Jamie would show former Prime Minister David Cameron every time they met to discuss a potential sugar tax 

‘I was being spoken to talked to, tracked down by evey CEO they imagined, wanting to talk to me, convince me.’

While he has no evidence that the lobby was involved, he says over a five month period where he shot a documentary on the dangers of sugar – his house was broken into multiple times. 

‘I have to be pretty careful what I say,’ he said. ‘The second I started pre-production on Sugar Rush, to the moment the sugar tax happened is the only time in my life I’ve had multiple break-ins. 

‘Huge security and digital [break-ins], people getting into our system. I can’t say that it has anything to do with that and I can’t prove it. All I can say is in the 46 years I have lived on this planet, the only time that has happened was in that five month period.’ 

Mosley also chatted to former Chancellor George Osborne, who revealed some advisors thought he and Cameron were ‘crazy’ for trying to introduce the sugar tax. 

Mosley also chatted to former Chancellor George Osborne, who revealed some advisors thought he and Cameron were'crazy' for trying to introduce the sugar tax.

Mosley also chatted to former Chancellor George Osborne, who revealed some advisors thought he and Cameron were ‘crazy’ for trying to introduce the sugar tax.

‘The first person I had to convince was David Cameron, we sat in a room alone without any advisors and said “I think we should try and do this”,’ he explained. 

‘We then called our advisors in – very smart men and women – and quite a few of them said, “that is crazy, you’re going to get that rejected”. But there were other smart people in the room saying: “Look, it’s the right thing to do and we should try and work out how to do it”.

‘There were really two groups of people against it – there were kind of old-fashioned Conservatives who thought it was the nanny state, the other groups were the industry, the big companies.

‘They did put together a big campaign to stop it, they came to see me they came to see other members of the government to say, “This was wrong” and their lobbyist threatened us with an advertising campaign.’  

The second episode of Michael Mosley: Who Made Britain Fat? will air on Channel 4, Wed 16 Mar, 9pm

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