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Enabling healthy food choices in the workplace: the canteen operators’ perspective

Sarah Price (Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Jeffery Bray (Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Lorraine Brown (Faculty of Management, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 7 August 2017

Abstract

Purpose

Employees eat regularly in workplace foodservice settings, thus the food served can significantly impact their overall diet. Workplace foodservice providers are facing several challenges, including changing consumer demands, partial blame for high levels of obesity and the delivery of accessible information that can encourage healthier food choices. The purpose of this paper is to explore the industry perspective on consumer information needs and to assess the challenges faced by foodservice providers in terms of responding to these in a workplace setting.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted, involving ten in-depth semi-structured interviews with contract catering managers in the UK and Germany.

Findings

Canteen operators have a sound understanding of what is important to their customers. However, the amount of dish information currently provided is limited, and the reasons for this are discussed. The menu remains the traditional medium of communication of information on dishes, but there is openness to technical platforms, which not only reduce information overload but also increase customer engagement.

Practical implications

Technological solutions are discussed as a way to overcome barriers to information provision providing workplace caterers with a clear approach to effectively communicate enhanced dish information.

Social implications

The provision of enhanced dish information has been found to influence consumers’ to make more healthful selections. This is an important public health issue given the growing rates of obesity and diabetes type 2.

Originality/value

This study makes an original contribution by exploring the industry perspective on consumer needs for information and on how this information can be provided.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This project has been funded from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme under Grant Agreement No. 643999.

Citation

Price, S., Bray, J. and Brown, L. (2017), "Enabling healthy food choices in the workplace: the canteen operators’ perspective", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 318-331. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-12-2016-0087

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited