More than 160 participants attended the conference Balanced Nutrition at Work, The European FOOD project: a successful public-private partnership, held at the European Parliament in Brussels, 31 May 2011.
The conference was a showcase for the two-year FOOD (Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand) pilot project, which ended in April 2011.
The plenary session in the morning hosted more than 160 participants and the afternoon workshops welcomed around 80 people.
The morning round tables enabled to cross the strategies at national scale thanks to the FOOD partners and at European and international scales with the intervention of the WHO, the European Commission and the European Parliament representatives.
In addition, the afternoon workshops let more time to explain the content of the recommendations and the communication strategies country by country. It was also the opportunity to introduce the 7th country that entered the project last February: Slovakia.
Panelists reported on results from the FOOD project’s methodology and discussed lessons learned from the successful public-private partnership approach. Moderator Martin Caraher pointed out that long-term change regarding balanced nutrition could take 15 to 20 years, but the FOOD project proves much can be accomplished in the short term.
The discussion between the speakers led to encouraging remarks, such as Ms. Spanou‘s conclusion: “We are trying to spread good practices geographically. It’s excellent to see projects among six member states” (...) “The FOOD project can offer opportunities to the member states”
The FOOD project partners are pursuing their efforts for at least another three years even though the pilot has ended. “The project is becoming a programme and is open to new partners and new Member States,” explained the Co-coordinator, Edenred. “We can still improve the programme and we can work with different kinds of partners.”
The objectives of the FOOD consortium include:
- Disseminating the results and communication initiatives in the six pilot countries;
- Introducing the FOOD programme to other countries;
- Continuing to exchange best practices within the consortium; and
- Ensuring an evaluation of the initiatives, commitments and tools used by the target groups.
The methodology developed and the deliverables are expected to attract new partners from other countries. Edenred continues to coordinate the programme and is actively encouraging new partners to join the consortium.