A new set of questionnaires inspired from the 2009 and 2010 surveys, called the FOOD barometers, have been launched every year since 2012 to monitor the evolution of the habits and opinions of both target groups about balanced nutrition.
In 2016, 71% of Italian employees had lunch on a daily basis. This figure has remained quite constant over the years. It is excatly the same as the European average, which was of 71% in 2016.
Close to half of Italian workers usually ate a dish/a complete meal for lunch in 2016. This has remained the most common choice over the years.
When choosing a restaurant, in 2016, Italian workers considered important or very important practical criteria linked to working life constraints such as a quick service (83%) and the location of the restaurant, which had to be close to their workplace (83%). The environment had to be pleasant (76%) and the restaurant had to serve locally produced and/or seasonal food (76%). These figures have remained constantly significant over the years.
In 2016, 85% of Italian employees considered important or very important the nutritional quality of the meals served when choosing a place to have lunch at. This figure is higher than the European average (77%), and has never been that high over the 5 years.
In 2016, Italian workers mainly chose what they were going to have for lunch according to what they wanted at the present time (59%) but also according to the balance of the dish (58%). The price and the quantity of food contained in the plate arrived in third position with only 29% of Italian employees declaring it affected their decision-making on what to have for lunch.
This shows that Italian employees give a real importance to balanced nutrition. This trend has even been reinforced in 2016, with a leap forward of almost 10 points of percentage among the employees selecting the “balance of the dish” criterion.
In 2016, 58% of Italian restaurants declared having a medium level of knowledge about balanced nutrition, and that they could learn some more. It is higher than the European average, which was of 56% in 2016. 32% thought that they had a high level of knowledge on the topic, which is very close to the European average (33%). These figures have remained quite constant over the 5 years.
In 2016, 37% of Italian restaurants declared noticing an increased demand for balanced/healthy meals. This figure has been increasing over the 5 years, reflecting a growing demand for balanced meals options. This result sows that Italian restaurants are aware of this increasing demand for a healthier food offer.
In 2016, restaurants in Italy did not have strong opinions about balanced nutrition in comparison with the European results, as a lot of them were neutral about the statements proposed. 40% of them disagreed or strongly disagreed that healthy meals did not taste as good as less healthy options and 35% disagreed that it was more difficult. Only 23% of them disagreed or strongly disagreed with the idea that preparing healthy/balanced meals was more expensive, and only 22% with the idea that it took more time to prepare healthy meals.
Over the 5 years, Italian restaurants used to have rather positive opinions about preparing healthy meals. But the share of positive opinions about healthy cooking dropped in 2016, meaning that restaurants have stronger and stronger prejudices about preparing balanced meals.
The connection between the Offer and the Demand for balanced food offer is rather good in Italy. Italian employees give a growing importance to the balance of their dish and it is reflected to a good extent in the restaurants’ perception of their customers. But even though Italian restaurants still have quite positive opinions about healthy cooking, they used to have less prejudices before.