The European FOOD -Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand- programme was created as a project in 2009 thanks to the co-funding of the European Commission (DG SANTE).
Edenred, as lead partner and coordinator, proposed to representatives of Public Health Authorities, Nutritionists, Research centres and Universities in six countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden) to form a Consortium of partners.
Despite the end of the EU funding in April 2011, the partners decided to take advantage of the results and continued the actions under a long-term programme.
The Austrian Ministry of Health and Women’s affairs (BMGF) joined forces with Edenred Austria in 2015 in order to launch the FOOD programme in Austria, on the basis of the work already accomplished by the eight other countries. Austria therefore became the ninth country to join the FOOD consortium.
Edenred designs and develops voucher programmes for companies and public authorities. Its flagship product is the meal voucher (or Ticket Restaurant®) which has been in practice worldwide for more than 50 years and is used by more than 43 million people every day in 42 countries.
Meal vouchers can act as a launch pad for effecting a change of employee food and lifestyle habits. Furthermore, the FOOD project – which became a long-term programme - is in perfect harmony with Edenred’s stated corporate social responsibility goals, of which access to balanced nutrition is a key priority. Edenred is responsible for the coordination of the programme and for the dissemination of the information and results.
Federal Ministry of Health
The Federal Ministry of Health is despite of governmental responsibilities one of the main actors with regard to health in Austria. In the field of health promotion, the Federal Ministry of Health undertakes great endeavours on the one hand to improve the living conditions of the population and on the other hand to increase public awareness on the importance of having a healthy lifestyle. Health promotion and prevention are understood as public responsibilities which are aimed at improving the health and quality of life of the Austrian population.
To reverse the rising overweight and obesity rates by 2020 and to prevent diet-related non-communicable diseases, Austria launched in 2011 the Austrian Nutrition Action Plan. It aims at the implementation of effective measures in a transparent and intergovernmental way to prevent over, under and malnutrition. Existing activities were combined into one strong strategy and a nationwide commitment.
Step 1: Research and knowledge
The first steps of the methodology developed under the FOOD project phase such as the inventory of the existing programmes and the surveys were not carried out in Austria. Making use of the recent health data of the Ministry of Health and Women’s Affairs, the partners could indeed begin the programme by defining specific national recommendations and designing a communication strategy aimed at the two main target groups, employees and restaurants.
Step 2: Recommendations
The Austrian partners chose to adopt the common recommendations created by the eight first countries. They added specific recommendations adapted to local eating habits.
Recommendations to the employees
- I drink water and other unsweetened non-alcoholic drinks
- I eat vegetables at least three times a day and fruit twice a day.
- I eat carbohydrates regularly.
- I prefer whole grains.
- I get calcium from milk, cheese and yoghurt.
- I allow myself at least three meat-free days a week and get my protein from plant sources as well as dairy products and eggs.
- I regularly eat fish from sustainable fish farms or other sustainable sources.
- I use herbs for seasoning to save on salt.
- I prefer vegetable fats.
- I use less fat by steaming, stewing, grilling or frying.
Recommendations to the restaurants
- There are no salt shakers at the table.
- A tap for free tap water and drinking glasses are available.
- It is possible to choose between large and small portions.
- The following preparation methods are used : grilling, stewing, braising.
- If there is a dish of the day / lunch menu, salad and/or vegetables and/or a vegetable soup are offered daily with them.
- If there are meat dishes, they are accompanied by vegetables and/or a starchy side dish.
- Pastries are offered in wholemeal varieties.
Criteria to respect in order to be part of the FOOD restaurants’ network
Following the creation of a set of adapted FOOD recommendations for restaurants, a network of restaurants was established.
In Austria, restaurants have to apply 5 out of the 8 recommendations in order to be part of the FOOD network.
To see the map of the entire network of FOOD restaurants, click here
Step 3: Communication strategy
Along the project and programme phases, several communication tools targeting both target groups were created :
Step 4: Evaluation
The FOOD barometers
Questionnaires inspired from the 2009-2010 surveys conducted during the project phase, called the FOOD barometers, have been launched every year since 2012 to monitor the evolution of the habits and opinions of both target groups - employees and restaurants - about balanced food.
Austria participated to the FOOD barometers for the first time in 2016.
Step 5: Adaptation and dissemination
The data collected during the evaluation allows the partners to adapt the communication strategy to employees and restaurants’ needs and expectations. This is a continuous improvement of the programme, its messages and communication tools.