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Foodservice Cateys 2016: Healthy Eating Champion

20 October 2016
Foodservice Cateys 2016: Healthy Eating Champion

Sponsored by Amadeus

Amanda Ursell & Judy Roberts, Charlton House

Nutritionist Amanda Ursell has worked with Charlton House's creative director Judy Roberts for more than eight years and together they have supported and promoted healthy eating programmes that have had a direct result on the wellbeing of the workforce.

Charlton House provides staff catering, fine dining and hospitality services to a wide range of companies across the UK, and aims to influence customers to choose foods that aid a healthy lifestyle. In 2015 it became the first caterer to be awarded with a Health & Well­being Award from the Royal Society for Public Health for improving the population's health.

Over the last 12 months, Ursell and Roberts have developed healthy eating initiatives, such as the Passport to Health at Gatwick Airport. During a 12-week trial, the team introduced healthy alternatives for Gatwick employees, such as Grab and Fly food bags for crew members, a ‘grill-up' instead of a ‘fry-up', and pre-ordered evening meals for employees working shifts.

The company was approached by the School of Psychology, the University of Birmingham and the University of Oxford to take part in a study to identify new ways to promote healthy eating for diners. Before the experiment, a benchmark was established of how many vegetables were consumed across three Charlton House sites. Nine different messages encouraging people to eat more vegetables were designed, and the best-scoring poster was displayed around the sites.

Over 9,000 customers were evaluated across a six-week period, and results showed an increase in the purchase of meals with vegetables after the posters and table-talkers were displayed. When comparing the results before the intervention and after, there was an increase in meals ordered, including vegetables from 60% to 67%.

The messages on the posters may have affected diners, as they provided a useful guide to ‘correct' behaviour and avoided any negative connotations regarding vegetables. Therefore, people ordering meals without vegetables were not conforming to the group ‘norm' as directed by the posters.

The results of the study were submitted to the British Medical Journal as they suggested that provoking healthy eating is achievable through promotions and communications, and the findings could contribute toward further studies to improve customers' health.

An ongoing initiative that is being supported company-wide is the National Chef's Nutrition Course. Over 200 head chefs and chef-managers have attended the course to date, to receive advice on refining their menus and how to make healthy changes, such as offering customers low-salt beans and eco-friendly tuna. The course is under consideration to be accredited by the Association for Nutrition.

Caroline Fry, deputy CEO of CH&Co, said: "Through Judy and Amanda's dedication, the company has healthy eating and lifestyle embedded in its culture, and the recognition received demonstrates it is considered a leading foodservice provider in health and wellbeing."

What the judges said

"It is fantastic to see such different and unusual approaches to healthy eating. I particularly liked the idea of the ‘grill-up' as an alternative to a ‘fry-up'. Well thought out and planned. Well done."

Kimberley Aplin, Sodexo

"CH&Co consistently demonstrates a commitment to healthy eating, and Amanda and Judy optimise this. Well done for continuously pushing the foodservice sector."

Mike Hanson, BaxterStorey

Shortlisted

  • Sophie Murray Sunrise Senior Living
  • Diana Bright Bridgwater College
  • Amanda Ursell & Judy Roberts Charlton House

Past winners

  • 2015 Kimberley Aplin Sodexo
  • 2014 Kate Martin The Brookwood Partnership
  • 2013 Caroline Fry CH&Co

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