designed-with-health-in-mind-large-768x795People eat for a whole host of reasons – because they are hungry, bored, excited, sad, celebrating or feel they deserve a treat. They eat out of habit, or because food is put in front of them. Our relationship with food is complex. It is a vital part of everyday life and an integral part of culture. But what and how much we eat can depend on a variety of factors. And in an age of convenience and an abundance of food, we’re eating ourselves to ill health

63% of the UK adult population, one quarter of 2-10 year olds and one third of 11-15 year olds are overweight or obese. According to the World Health Organization, dietary/lifestyle related diseases are becoming the biggest threat to human health. The annual economic impact of obesity in the UK is estimated at £46 billion.

Yet with 1 in 6 meals and ¼ of calories consumed outside of the home, what is the industry doing to ensure it plays its part in tackling the crisis?

I was lucky enough that Footprint Intelligence was commissioned to conduct a piece of independent research on how to use the psychology of healthier eating to encourage consumers to eat more healthily in foodservice by Compass Group UK & Ireland so this is a topic I have been able to explore in great depth.

This is because the obesity figures show that willpower and information is not enough. However, research has shown that it is surprisingly easy to influence what people choose, and how much they eat if only you know how. Many of these changes can be nudges that guide people towards making better choices, in the way white lines painted on roads unconsciously nudge drivers into driving more safely.

Nudges that encourage healthier behaviours in foodservice include changing things like the portion or plate size, which products are within eye line and the way food is positioned and presented. They can also include environmental factors like lighting and music. Yet whilst many foodservice providers have been busy reformulating products, recipes and menus, only a few leaders have considered how psychological approaches can help make people healthier.

This research report outlines the innovative ways in which foodservice can use psychology to help customers make healthier choices, thereby creating a roadmap to a healthier future.

By understanding what works and by sharing best practice, the goal is to make the strategies that work widespread in foodservice.

Read the full report on the Footprint website here: Designed with Health in Mind. And let me know what you think, of course!


ethical-storytelling60% of consumers say ethical ingredients are one of the top issues that make a food company ethical. But how are sustainability stories being told in the foodservice/hospitality environment?

This is especially important when the resonance between that outlet and its ethical credentials might be the differentiating factor that drives the customer to choose that outlet over another.

Distributors and caterers have repeatedly called for better information from manufacturers to help them tell sustainability stories and to demonstrate the value of products’ ethical credentials.

To answer this need, last year Tate & Lyle Sugars commissioned a Footprint Intelligence Report which identified how to communicate ethics effectively in foodservice to allow consumers to act on their desire to use ethical credentials as a differentiating factor when choosing where to eat.

I loved working on this report – I hope you enjoy it too. Read it here: Blueprint for better ethical storytelling in foodservice

Footprint-SRB-LogoWith Brexit, increasing rates and rising raw material costs knocking confidence, creating uncertainty and squeezing bottom lines, foodservice businesses are feeling the pressure. For example, more than two thirds have increased menu prices over the last quarter to keep pace with rising costs, according the CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey.

Can sustainability provide a vital anchor in these uncertain times, providing stability and better financial returns? According to Sean Haley, regional chair, Sodexo UK and Ireland, the answer is a resounding YES.

This is because, according to Haley, sustainability is “just good business. It’s the right thing to do, and especially in challenging times. There is a lot of uncertainty around, but having sustainability embedded into the business puts us in a stable position.”

Read the rest of my interview with Haley to find out concrete examples of how aligning corporate goals with the SDGS, engaging the workforce and working to embed sustainability throughout your organisation is just sound business: 

Screen-Shot-2017-03-29-at-13.17.52Last year, I worked on another great Footprint research project which aimed to outline how foodservice can help tackle the health crisis by using product renovation, reformulation and innovation to make products healthier.

Commissioned by Nestlé Professional and produced by Footprint Media, the Recipe for Change report is an actionable, non-technical industry guide. It outlines how foodservice can help tackle the health crisis by using product renovation, reformulation and innovation to make products healthier. And, with a recent survey finding that 56% of casual diners would be more willing to go to a restaurant that offers healthy menu options, ensuring products are healthier helps keep customers happy and makes good business sense.

Based on in-depth industry research – including interviews with over 60 industry insiders – the report identified 12 essential ‘ingredients’ to successful reformulation. Discover what they are by reading the report on the Footprint website here.


A couple of years ago, I undertook a research project for Footprint Media Group which aimed to work out why chefs didn’t have much nutritional knowledge. The reason was fairly simple: It’s not taught. So this became the title of my report: It’s not taught: why chefs don’t consider nutrition, and how to get nutritional education onto the syllabus and into the kitchen.


The report, which was sponsored by Nestle Professional, aimed to identify how to improve nutritional education in catering colleges and industry to improve public health and meet customer demand for healthier options.

With the continued support of Nestle Professional, I’m thrilled to announce that Footprint are now able to continue the project and to start putting the report’s recommendations into action. A vital step when 63% of the UK adult population is overweight or obese, and we eat 1 in 6 meals out of home. Watch out for updates on later this Spring.


Foodservice_Trend_Report_2016_pdfSustainable menus, the importance of chef’s nutritional training and the responsibility to make out-of-home food healthier, whatever the policy/voluntary framework. These are some of the top trends identified in the Footprint Health & Vitality Foodservice Trend Report 2016 supported by Bidvest.

As many of you who have seen me recently will know, writing and researching this report – the first component in the Footprint Sustainability Index – has been keeping me pretty busy of late, and I’m thrilled to announce that the report has now been published.

Download your copy here.

And do get in touch if you’d like to speak to me regarding my research for the rest of the index. This will focus on issues such as waste, energy, emissions, supply chain, employees and community.

Here are some of the sustainability-related news stories I’ve written this week:

  • Foodservice does its bit for organic milk, soil association expands it’s portfolio, end of “unintentional product residue”, ale from surplus bread. Read more
  • A food waste bill that could require large supermarkets, manufacturers and distributors to reduce their food waste by no less than 30% by 2025 will get its second reading in parliament this Friday (5th Feb 2016)… Read more
  • Children’s taste buds are becoming so used to “engineered” foods, such as chicken nuggets, fish fingers and ketchup, that they prefer them to “real” foods, such as chicken breast, fish and tomatoes, a new study has concluded. Read more
  • Scotland has launched a new campaign to get consumers doing their bit for climate change by tackling issues such as food waste and washing temperatures. Read more
  • A 25-year study has found that eating fruit and vegetables can help with weight management. Read more

You can find more of my news, stories, reports and features on Footprint – the leading source of information on responsible business and sustainability for the foodservice, hospitality and grocery retail supply chains.