Type 2: Pre-procurement collaboration

Sector of the company/organisation

Consumer Goods and Services

Name of activity/project (or solution offered)

The European FOOD Programme; Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand

Relevant urban sustainability topic

lifestyles (sustainable consumption, recreation, leisure,…)

Start year


Brief project summary

Led by a partnership between public health authorities, nutritionists, universities and eight European Edenred subsidiaries (France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Slovakia), which together form the FOOD Consortium, the programme aims to:

  • Positively influence eating habits of employees
  • Improve the offer of healthy meals in restaurants¬†

Short activity description

Edenred is the program's coordinator and manages relations with the network of restaurants.

The first mission of the FOOD consortium was to conduct a survey of existing programme's related to balanced nutrition at the workplace and in restaurants. A questionnaire was then sent to 52,000 employees and 5,000 restaurants to determine their expectations.

Based on these results, the partners defined the program's recommendations for each target group (employees and restaurants) and tools for disseminating them. More than 200 tools are currently available free of charge on the program's website (link).

Every year, the FOOD program evaluates the progress that has been made through a survey sent to restaurant owners and employees.

Achieved impact

  • A significant result is the will from the partners to continue the project objectives after the end of the EU funding: a rare and noteworthy outcome
  • Creation of a network of restaurants that adheres to the FOOD recommendations: >3.200 restaurants in 8 countries involved
  • Dissemination of the programme
    • FOOD presented to >60 conferences and official events
    • +200 communication tools created, all adapted to the targets' professional constraints
    • Approximately 6 million employees representing >205,000 companies and almost 370,000 restaurants reached in the 8 countries
    • Road show in 2009 attracted >1500 visitors in 7 days

Is this project a best practice? Why?

Recognition of the programme:

  • The FOOD project has been selected by the EC as one of the best projects funded under the second Health Programme (2008-2013)
  • FOOD has been presented as a prevention best practice at the XIXe World Congress on Safety and Health at Work
  • Extension of the programme to 2 new countries without EU funding

What are the main lessons learned during implementation?

Independently-run restaurants very difficult target group to reach. They often struggled with the constraints linked to their profession. In addition, they operate in a sensitive domain. Nutrition, cooking and food preparation often based on personal habits and insights. Difficult to tell a professional how to cook healthily if he/she not willing to do so. Lack of time and prejudices against balanced eating additional hurdles towards sensitising or reaching restaurant owners and chefs.
Communication activities towards this target group took more time than foreseen and the evaluation would have not been efficient with small number of restaurants taking part in intervention.

More information on the project


European Affairs Developer