795 Italian employees responded to the questionnaire. From this initial survey, some important results emerged that helped to shape the first set of tools and messages.
Figure 14: Breakdown of employee reported weight
The previous graph analyses the overall weight of employees. In Italy, the largest number of employees with normal weight (67.4%) was identified out of the six countries and the fewest reported to being obese (5.5%) in line with the OECD results in chapter 1.
More than 10% of respondents never have breakfast with 60.9% of employees (the fewest of the six countries) reporting to having a breakfast every day. This is one of the unhealthy habits of Italian employees that the national partners wish to change as highlighted in the Guidelines for a healthy Italian nutrition available for the employees.
More than 80% of employees reported having a lunch break every single day and only 2% never have one. However as it can be seen in the next graph, similar to the results from Spain and France, employees frequently eat at home or eat food brought from home. 50% of those who eat in a restaurant are the main targets of the communication programmes and tools.
Figure 15: Breakdown of lunch places frequented by Italian employees
Over half of employees claimed to choose the restaurant they have lunch in, based on its proximity to their workplace. Affordable or cheap was the second reason mentioned by 32.5% of respondents. In line with the results from the other six countries, the majority of employees choose what they are going to eat based on what they feel like at that given time. Positively though, the second chosen factor was the ‘what is good for me’.
The meaning of balanced nutrition to 66.8% of respondents is ‘eating pleasant food while at the same time protecting your health’. Only very few of the respondents associated balanced food with being low in calories, fat, salt and sugar. This is an indication that balanced food is not associated with diet but encouragingly has positive connotations.
In terms of nutritional advice in the restaurants, 41.3% of respondents would have liked to see a symbol indicating the balanced dish.
72 restaurants responded to the first survey. More than 50% were independently run and only 1.4% belonging to a chain, which is typical to the Italian restaurant sector and causes an added difficulty in reaching this very segmented sector.
Figure 16: Respondents’ restaurant classification:
In Italy, the fewest respondents out of the six countries, claimed to have knowledge about balanced food. The majority, in line with responses from all other countries apart from Spain, state that they could learn more.
Figure 17: Restaurant owners’ knowledge about balanced food
90.3% of respondents (the second highest after Sweden out of the six countries) do not see any obstacle to promoting balanced nutrition in their restaurants.
The Italian restaurant sector is very fragmented consisting mainly of independently owned restaurants. Only 16.9% respondents claimed to have an overall knowledge of balanced nutrition. Nevertheless, the majority was open to learning more about it with very few who saw any obstacles to doing so. With the majority of employees choosing their lunch restaurant based on proximity to their work place, and choosing to eat what they feel like at the time, it is important to improve the offer in these restaurants thus improving employees’ chances of receiving a healthy meal.