The European FOOD -Fighting Obesity through Offer and Demand- programme was created as a project in 2009 thank to the co-funding of the European Commission (DG SANTE).
Edenred, as lead partner and coordinator, proposed to representatives of Public Health Authorities, Nutritionists, Research centres and Universities in six countries (Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Spain, and Sweden) to form a Consortium of partners.
Slovakia joined FOOD at the very end of the project phase, in 2011. Despite the end of the EU funding in April 2011, the partners decided to take advantage of the actions and results and continued under a long-term programme, to which Romania is taking part.
Edenred designs and develops voucher programmes for companies and public authorities. Its flagship product is the meal voucher (or Ticket Restaurant®) which has been in practice worldwide for more than 50 years and is used by more than 43 million people every day in 45 countries.
Meal vouchers can act as a launch pad for effecting a change of employee food and lifestyle habits. Furthermore, the FOOD project – which became a long-term programme - is in perfect harmony with Edenred’s stated corporate social responsibility goals, of which access to balanced nutrition is a key priority. Edenred is responsible for the coordination of the programme and for the dissemination of the information and results.
National Institute of Public Health (INSP)
The Institute’s activity at the territorial level is carried out through 4 national centers and 6 regional public health centers, organized in its structure, without legal personality. Within the National Public Health Institute there is a 13-member coordination council, which has the role of approves the main lines of action in the areas of strategy, organization and operation of the Institute.
Step 1 : Research and knowledge
Romania joined the FOOD programme in October 2018. When the national partners decided to implement the FOOD programme in the country, both agreed on the necessity for fast action while still maintaining rigorous quality. Making use of the recent health data of the National Institute of Public Health, the partners could indeed began the project by defining specific national recommendations and designing a communication strategy aimed at the two main target groups.
Step 2 : Recommendations
Recommendations to the employees
Avoid or sparsely use salt, much food already contains it ;
Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day (one portion = 80 g, half a large apple) ;
Prefer water instead of sweetened drinks ;
Reduce sugar consumption. Pay attention if the products you serve already contain it !
As a dessert, choose a fresh fruit ;
Pay attention to the serving portion. Get up from the table before you are too full ;
Lower the use of fat and preferably use vegetable oils ;
Choose cooking methods that do not require excessive amount of fat : steam, oven, grill etc.
Reduce bread consumption. Prefer whole wheat bread !
Make time for lunch. Prefer to have lunch outside the office !
Recommendations to the restaurants
Favor cooking methods that do not require adding too much fat, such as steaming, roasting or grilling ;
Frequently offer a dish without meat ;
Provide on a daily basis salads made from fresh vegetables ;
Frequently offer dishes with fish or white meat in the menu ;
Use vegetable oils as the main fat for cooking ;
Use a low amount of salt when cooking (preferably iodised salt), and recommend condiments as alternative ;
Offer whole wheat bread ;
Offer a dessert based on fresh fruit ;
Have drinking water available, at least during lunch time (12:00 - 14:30)
Criteria to respect in order to be part of the FOOD restaurants’ network
Following the creation of the FOOD recommendations for restaurants, a network of restaurants respecting a certain number of recommendations was created.
In Romania, restaurants have to apply 6 out of the 9 recommendations in order to be part of the FOOD restaurants network.
To see the map of the entire network of FOOD restaurants, click here
Step 3 : Communication tools
Step 4 : Evaluation
The FOOD barometers
Questionnaires inspired from the 2009-2010 surveys conducted during the project phase, called the FOOD barometers, have been launched every year since 2012 to monitor the evolution of the habits and opinions of both target groups – employees and restaurants - about balanced food.
The first FOOD Barometers in Romania were launched 2019.
Click here to consult the results for Romania.
Step 5 : Adaptation and dissemination
The data collected during the evaluation allows the partners to adapt the communication strategy to employees and restaurants’ needs and expectations. This is a continuous improvement of the programme, its messages and communication tools.