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October 09, 2019

The United Nations rewards the FOOD program

On September 23, the FOOD program (Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand), which aims to promote a balanced diet in the workplace, was again rewarded at the prize-giving ceremony of the United Nations Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, at the Ministry of Health in Belgium.

The European FOOD program, which is coordinated by Edenred, brings together public and private partners in the pursuit of a common goal: the promotion of balanced food during the working day. The program targets both restaurant owners and employees, so that the latter can have access to a balanced offer near to their place of work during their lunch break. Restaurant owners are encouraged to adapt their offer to the demand of their clients. This initiative addresses the United Nations’ sustainable development goal No. 3, which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.
Launched in 2009 with the backing of European funding, the FOOD program currently boasts 27 partners in 10 European countries. It covers a network of 520,000 restaurants in 10 countries that are encouraged to offer a more balanced and sustainable offer on their menus. The awareness of almost 7 million Ticket Restaurant beneficiaries has been raised by several campaigns.

More than 1.2 Belgian employees benefit from this program

Awareness of healthy eating is low in the world of work. FOOD is a unique tool that targets workers. Through this program, the Belgian partners, including the Public Health SPF, have developed a number of communication tools, such as the “10 recommendations for employees”, which include “I eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day”, “I taste my food before adding any salt” and “I can go without meat on certain days”, and the “10 recommendations for restaurant owners”, which include “I provide tap water on demand”, “I do not put a salt cellar on the table” or “I propose vegetable side dishes and fruit desserts”.
Further training in balanced food has been organized for restaurant owners and for employees in several major Belgian companies. The FOOD program regularly publishes e-newsletters on targeted themes, such as products that are in season, zero waste and nutri-score.

74% of Belgian employees pay attention to the nutritional value of their meals

For 74% of the employees who were questioned, the nutritional quality of their meals is important, or even very important, when they eat their lunch in a restaurant (the European average is 77%). 50% of the Belgian employees who took part in the survey also claimed to pay attention to the balance of their lunch. A figure that is rising year on year, because it was just 37% in 2016.
The selection committee of the United Nations Task Force was made up of the International Labor Office, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program.

Find out more about the FOOD program.

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