H4. Healthier Staff Restaurants

“We will implement some basic measures for encouraging healthier staff restaurants/ vending outlets/buffets for staff, including:

  • Ensuring the availability of healthier foods and beverages in all available channels to employees
  • Working with caterers to reformulate recipes to provide meals which are lower in fat, salt, and energy and which do not contain artificial trans fats
  • Provision of responsibly sized portions of foods
  • Provision and promotion of the consumption of fruit and vegetables through availability and price promotion
  • Provision of calories and/or Guideline Daily Amounts on menus per portion as a minimum (further nutrients optional)
  • Ensure that water is visible and freely available.”

The following provides background and supporting information to help organisations understand what this pledge sets out to achieve and how, by becoming a Responsibility Deal partner, you can help deliver this pledge.

What this pledge sets out to achieve and why it is important

This pledge will make it easier for people to choose and maintain a healthier diet while at work.

The Responsibility Deal sets out to create the right environment to help people make healthier choices more easily. Most people spend more time at work than anywhere else and the work environment has a major impact on their health. The food and drink available and promoted in the workplace – in staff restaurants and cafes, vending machines, buffets for staff etc – can play a vital role in influencing people’s choices and behaviour about what they eat at work, but also outside work as well.

The latest Health Survey for England data shows that nearly 1 in 4 adults are obese. Being obese and overweight increases the risk of a range of diseases that can have a significant health impact e.g. heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. It can also lead to back pain, breathing problems and infertility, which can contribute to low self-esteem and a reduced quality of life.

In October 2011, the Government published Healthy Lives, healthy people: a call to action on obesity in England outlining how everyone, including business, can play their part in tackling this major public health issue.

Benefits to public health

The provision and promotion of healthy options in the workplace can help people make healthier choices more easily.  It also helps to influence and instil healthier eating outside the workplace and at home with the wider family – extending the benefits.  Eating a balanced diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables, and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Evidence suggests that calorie labelling at point of choice does make customers more aware of energy content. Recent research from New York City published in the British Medical Journal reported that calorie labelling influenced the choices of one in six customers.

Some foods and drinks can contain more calories than people think, and providing calorie labelling enables people to make informed choices to reduce their energy intake.

Benefit to employers

Signing up to this pledge clearly demonstrates employers’ commitment to their ‘duty of care’ for their employees. In the long term, employers will benefit from a healthier, fitter, more engaged workforce with less sickness absence rates – and this has a positive impact on efficiency and productivity.

It also reflects well on the organisation’s public profile – helping to attract good candidates, retaining valued staff as well as sending positive messages to its customers, clients and the wider community.

How you can deliver this pledge

You can deliver this pledge by taking some simple measures to influence food choices such as:

  • Removing salt from canteen and food outlet dining tables
  • Making tap water visible and accessible in all areas
  • Including guideline daily amounts (GDAs) and calorie labelling on canteen and other food outlet menus
  • Procuring ingredients that meet the Responsibility Deal Salt targets and which are lower in sugar and fat, particularly saturated fat
  • Modify recipes, where appropriate, by increasing the amount of vegetables and wholegrain ingredients and using herbs and spices to flavour dishes
  • Switch to the use of unsaturated fats in recipes and when cooking/finishing off dishes
  • Include at least one portion of vegetables as a mandatory serving alongside main course dishes (included in the price)
  • Develop meal deals that include a starchy carbohydrate, vegetables and 1 portion of fruit

Useful information on healthier catering practices, which includes ways to reduce the amount of salt, saturated fat and sugar through tips on procurement, preparation and cooking is available in the Department of Health publication Healthier and more sustainable catering: A toolkit for serving food to adults.

Your pledge delivery plan

Shortly after signing up, partners will be asked to provide pledge delivery plans, laying out how they intend to meet each of the pledges they have signed up to.  They will have up to 500 words to describe their plans for each pledge they are signed up to.  All delivery plans will be published on this website.

Reporting progress on your pledge

Partners will be asked to report on their progress by the end of April each year.  For some pledges, partners will be asked to report using pre-defined quantitative measures, while for others they will be asked for a narrative update.  Further information on the reporting arrangements for each pledge is available.  All annual updates will be published on this website.

We are currently developing a web-based system that will allow partners to complete their delivery plans and annual updates online from 2013.

Partners signed up to this pledge.


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