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Eurest Joins with University of Oxford to Study Lunch Choice Psychology

Eurest Joins with University of Oxford to Study Lunch Choice Psychology
15 February 2023

Contract caterer Eurest has partnered with the University of Oxford to examine whether workers can be influenced to buy sustainably based on the food choices of their colleagues.  

Eurest is looking to discover whether clever marketing messages, which signpost vegan and vegetarian meals as being popular, can steer people towards healthy and sustainable diets in their workplace restaurants.

It is the second time the contract caterer has partnered with the university, having already worked with them to trial the LEAP sustainability food labelling system – which labels recipes from A to E based on their impact on the environment.

The resulting academic paper will be available to the wider industry.


Better Diets at Work for Productivity


Nudging sustainable choices, such as plant-based dishes for instance, can also play its part in refuelling employees in a healthy and nutritious way, leading to higher levels of energy, concentration and productivity.

Whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts have among the lowest environmental impacts, whereas unprocessed and processed red meat are consistently associated with disease risk. Plant-based diets have been linked to lowering the risk of multiple health complications such as heart disease.

Rees Bramwell, Head of Nutrition and Sustainability at Eurest, said: “This project is taking our work with the University of Oxford to the next level, seeing what truly has an impact on consumer choice. This is about how we can nudge people towards food options which are better for the environment.

“There’s a lot of research which shows people are influenced by their colleagues when it comes to what they buy in the High Street. So, can it be applied in the workplace restaurant and used as a force for good?

“The kind of marketing messaging we are testing includes signposting plant-based options using sales data to say, ‘More and more of your colleagues are choosing veggie options, join them today!’.”

Dr Rachel Pechey, Postdoctoral Researcher in Health Behaviours at the University of Oxford, added: “Food plays a huge role in our changing climate, contributing up to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Our work with Eurest will provide robust evidence to help understand whether perceptions of 'typical' behaviours and attitudes in particular settings can influence people to switch to more sustainable options.”

Picture: a photograph of two pieces of toast with avocado and salad. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 15 February 2023


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