Employee questionnaire results
697 employees participated in the second questionnaire compared with 412 in the first round of 2009. 63% of them claimed to be eating rather healthily, displaying a similar attitude to the 2009 respondents.
Around a quarter of respondents claimed to be aware of a programme promoting healthy food, yet the majority (60%) were unaware of such programmes with 37% out of those interested to learn about them.
Out of the respondents that were aware of the FOOD project (14%) most of them knew what the project was about. Despite the low awareness of the project (with only French employees scoring lower), these finding indicate that for those familiar with the content, the FOOD project message was clear and that it has been positively associated with the Keyhole symbol.
A large majority of respondents have a lunch break every day, or almost daily (89%). Out of these 55% have lunch in a restaurant once a week or more frequently. The two main reasons for the employees not to have restaurant food were: preferring to bring food from home and lack of time.
Restaurant choice was based mainly on: the restaurant offering a pleasant environment, varied meals and fast service. This indicates a slight change from the 2009 results in which proximity to the workplace was the second determinant in the restaurant choice, now only ranking fourth in degree of importance.
Positively, customers reported that vegetables were being served with all meal options often or always (75%), tap water was being served on demand free of charge (75%), fish was on the menu often or always (68%) and poultry or white meat also being on the menu often or always (55%).
However, some of the recommendations were less adhered to. Foods that have been oven baked, steamed or grilled were reported by 60% of the respondents to be on the menu rarely, seldom or never. Wholemeal bread was rarely, sometimes or never on offer (40%). Staff was rarely, sometimes or never willing to provide help with the balanced meal choice (86%) or equally was rarely knowledgeable about it (72%). Optional portion sizes were rarely, sometimes or never offered for the main meal (60%).
These findings indicate that further work with the restaurants is needed to increase the offer of balanced meals and improve their adherence to the FOOD project recommendations. Employee attitude should also receive further attention as less than a third of the respondents would often or always choose a balanced meal if it was on offer.
Restaurant questionnaire results
60 restaurants participated in the second questionnaire (down from 80 in the first round).
45% of the respondents claimed to be aware of a programme promoting healthy or balanced food. The 45% who did not, would have liked to learn more about the subject.
A quarter of the respondents claimed to have seen the FOOD logo and material yet only 3 restaurants were fully aware of the project. The very short time frame between the launch of communication tools and the evaluation might mostly explain it. This sample size is too small to draw meaningful conclusions from.
A third of respondents had either made some or considerable changes to their food based on nutritional recommendations in the past 12 months or were considering making some. However, 41% of respondents reported not having thought about the need for making such changes. Most frequently mentioned reasons for not making changes were the perception that these changes were not necessary as the restaurant already served healthy food or that customers do not demand this (most of the respondents had not noticed any change in demand for balanced meals by their customers).
Due to the fact that neither of the surveys aimed at assessing the nutritional quality of the food on offer nor establishing a change in intake, it is of course not possible to determine whether there was a change in behaviour. Nevertheless, the objective of the project to promote healthy eating and to provide the target groups with clear and practical information seems to be achieved.
The positive results from the surveys relate to the fact that a large number of restaurants had either made changes to the food they offer, based on nutritional recommendations in the past 12 months or were considering doing so. This was evident by fact that customers noticed certain recommendations being implemented in the restaurants.
Respondents had positively associated the project with Keyhole scheme, which added synergy to the partnership in Sweden.