For over ten years, Edenred has been committed to promoting a healthy, balanced diet, notably by leading the annual survey for the FOOD program. Set up in 2009 at Edenred's initiative, the consortium now brings together 26 public and private organizations to address the growing problem of obesity in Europe. Carried out since 2012, the FOOD survey aims to understand and analyze employees' needs and encourage restaurants to offer healthier, more balanced meals.
The trends observed in recent years include a significant increase in awareness, among both suppliers and consumers, of the importance of eating a balanced diet. In 2016, close to 12,000 employees and 1,500 restaurants in eight European countries took part in the survey. The findings showed that the nutritional quality of the meals on offer is important or very important when choosing a restaurant for lunch for nearly 80% of the employees surveyed, an increase of eight percentage points over four years. In addition, the proportion of restaurant owners who had noticed an increase in demand for balanced meals more than doubled over the same period, rising from 17% in 2012 to 36% in 2016.
In 2017, Edenred is asking employees and restaurant owners in eight countries – Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain – to respond to the survey online in July and August. The questionnaire includes an "innovation" section this year, with specific questions about digitals tools, such as mobile apps and websites, that promote a healthy, balanced diet.
The survey findings will be presented at a conference to be held at the European Parliament in Brussels on October 19, 2017. The conference will provide a forum for reviewing the information gathered through the FOOD surveys and initiating discussions about the opportunities offered by new technologies in promoting healthy eating. Overseen by Bertrand Dumazy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Edenred, the discussions will bring together distinguished guests from a wide variety of backgrounds, including scientific experts, political decision makers, national and local officials, health professionals, and the heads of corporate human resources and sustainable development departments. Confirmed participants include John F. Ryan, the European Commission's Director for Public Health, Georgios Margetidis, Acting Unit Head at the European Commission's Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA), Birgit Morlion, mHealth Program and Policy Officer in the European Commission's DG CONNECT, Alojz Peterle, Member of the European Parliament and co-chair of the health working group within the European Parliament's Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, Pedro Graça, Director of the National Program for the Promotion of Healthy Eating in Portugal's Directorate-General of Health, Martin Caraher, Professor of Food and Health Policy at City University, London, and Giuseppe Masanotti, Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Perugia, Italy.