Two sets of questionnaires inspired from the 2009 and 2010 surveys, called the FOOD barometers, have been launched every year since 2012 in order to monitor the evolution of the habits and opinions of both target groups (employees and restaurants) about balanced nutrition.
In 2019, 70% of Belgian employees have lunch on a daily basis, and this figure has remained quite constant over the years. It is close to the European average (71%).
Most of them (62%) usually eat home-made food. We notice an increase in the consumption of home-made food over the years.
In 2019, Belgian workers consider important the having a restaurant close to their workplace (80%) and a quick service (83%), when having lunch. They also favor restaurants offering locally produced food (65%).
In 2019, 74% of Belgian employees consider important or very important the nutritional quality of the meals served when choosing a place to have lunch.This figure is close to the European average (78)%. This figure has remained quite constant over the past 7 years.
In 2019, half of Belgian employees (49%) declare that the balance of the dish affects their decision on what to have at lunch. This criterion is the third most chosen and comes right after ’what I want at the present time’ (70%) and ’the price of the meal’ (53%).
The share of Belgian employees declaring that the balance of the dish affected their decision-making on what to have at lunch had never been as high as in 2018, therefore highlighting an increasing interest for balanced.
In 2019, only 23% of Belgian restaurants declare having a high level of knowledge on balanced nutrition. This figure is slightly below the EU average (33%).
72% of Belgian restaurants have a low to medium level of knowledge on balanced nutrition and would like to learn more.
In 2019, 34% of Belgian restaurants notice an increased demand for balanced/healthy meals. This figure is rising in the country over the years.
47% of Belgian restaurant owners do not believe it is more difficult to prepare healthy/balanced meals (32% in 2016).
There is a misconnection between the Offer and the Demand sides for healthy food in Belgium. Belgian employees give a greater and greater importance to healthy eating whereas Belgian restaurants are not aware of this increasing demand. Plus, Belgian restaurants have strong prejudices about balanced nutrition and have a low interest in learning more about it in comparison with European averages, and these trends have both recently reinforced.