507 Spanish employees participated in the first questionnaire, 61% of them female. Less respondents perceived themselves to be overweight or obese compared with the national average, as can be seen in the following graph:
Figure 18: Breakdown of employee reported weight
42.8% of respondents were aware of a programme promoting balanced food. The main source of information for them was through a public initiative (despite the fact that none were mentioned in the inventory). The largest number out of the six countries was interested in receiving more information (93.2%).
Spanish employees have a lunch break every single day reported by 82.3% of them, second only to Swedish respondents. Over half of employees who have a lunch break, eat at home or home brought food. Spain had the largest number of employees reporting to have lunch at home. The main reason given for not eating in a restaurant given by 34.9% of respondents was preferring homemade food. The dishes being energy dense was the second chosen reason. Lack of time was the third determinant mentioned by 16%. Fewest people out of the six countries who eat out chose to eat in a bakery, sandwich bar or fast food restaurant.
Figure 19: Breakdown of lunch places frequented by Spanish employees:
The main determinant in choosing a lunch place was its proximity to the work place followed by offering a quick service. The nutritional quality of the food was the third reason given. The choice of food in the restaurant depended (in line with the other countries), on what the employee wanted at that given time. Appetite was the next common determinant. The nutritional quality of the dish on offer was the third criteria.
Similar to Italy and Sweden, balanced nutrition meant to the majority of respondents: ‘eating pleasant food while protecting your health’. The second most chosen definition was: ‘various foods in moderate amounts in a nice environment’.
In a restaurant menu, The Gustino symbol (the mascot of the ‘Food and Balance’ programme that was promoted to a vast network of Ticket Restaurant ® affiliates) was chosen by over half of respondents to be the best to indicate a balanced healthy dish. Apart from Sweden where most respondents chose the Keyhole symbol, the majority in all the other five countries preferred having the Gustino symbol on the menu.
64 Spanish restaurants responded to the first questionnaire. A daily lunch formula was offered in all but 5% of restaurants surveyed.
Over half of restaurant owners have heard about a national initiative regarding balanced nutrition. The majority read about it in a leaflet with television and radio providing other sources of information. Over 90% of respondents who were familiar with a nutritional plan have applied its recommendations in their restaurants (the largest number of the six countries). Half of those who haven’t applied the recommendations gave lack of time as the main reason. Budget and lack of interest from the client side were the other two reasons mentioned. All respondents however (again the most out of the six countries), acknowledged that they could contribute to their customers’ health.
Figure 20: Respondents’ restaurant classification:
Regarding the knowledge about balanced food, none of the respondents claimed not to know or pay attention to the subject. However, 65.6% (by far the most out of the six countries) claimed to have no knowledge at all. About a third of restaurant owners (second only to Sweden) claimed to have good knowledge of the subject.
Figure 21: Restaurant owners’ knowledge about balanced food
To most of the respondents, balanced nutrition meant tasty food followed by ‘various foods in moderate amount’. Again, second only to Sweden, Spanish restaurant owners claimed to use local products in the dishes. Quality, customer satisfaction and price in this order were the main benefits in the use of local products.
Similar to the employee results, also restaurant owners found the Gustino mascot symbol to be the most appropriate to indicating a balanced dish (chosen by 59.2%). Three quarters of respondents didn’t see any obstacles in promoting balanced nutrition in their restaurants. For 20% of respondents budget would be an obstacle in making changes to the food they offer and lack of demand for such food was an issue for 13.3% of respondents.
The survey results indicate that the employees that took part are interested in healthy eating. Fewer employees than the national average were overweight and only a minority chose to eat fast foods at lunchtime. Nearly all respondents were interested in learning more about balanced food. For the majority of respondents balanced food had positive connotations and was related to protecting one’s health.
The majority of restaurants that participated in the survey were independently run. They all showed interest in healthy food yet a large number of them had no knowledge of the subject.
The third that had knowledge of balanced food and were aware of such national programmes, also implemented the recommendations in their restaurants. All the restaurants were willing to act to improve on their customers’ health.