research

Sustainable Menu Engineering

SME in practise

Press release

FVI partners

Eurest, Van der Valk hotels, HMSHost, Rabobank

Koninklijke Horcea Nederland, The Greenery, Unilever

Van Gelder fruit and vegetables

Research Summary

Menu changes lead to more sustainable choice of guests.​

Business and knowledge institutions need more knowledge and practical insights in the area of food choice behavior of consumers. They want to better understand why consumers eat and buy which foods and how they can contribute to a healthier purchase and eating pattern. That is why a public-private partnership has been set up with the name Food Value Impact.

Knowledge and practice are brought together by developing interventions with a strong scientific basis and practical and realistic application for businesses. There are a number of conditions for success: there must be a demand for the introduced products, the customers must be and remain satisfied and the intervention must be feasible in terms of organization and cost. Only then is it possible to make an impact that is also permanent. This approach is reflected in the name Food Value Impact and also shows the ambition to initiate major social changes.

Challenge

A smart menu adjustment could help restaurant guests eat subconsciously the recommended daily amount of vegetables. Just as important, our planet could also benefit; the adjustment could result in a reduced CO2 footprint due to less meat consumption and waste.

Project

The studies were carried out independently in 2017 and 2018 by Wageningen Economic Research, the Louis Bolk Institute and Greendish. It is part of a public-private partnership (Food Value Impact) of nineteen partners, consisting of knowledge institutions, companies and non-profit organizations and is co-financed by the Top Sector Agri & Food and the Top Sector Horticulture & Propagation Materials. The research is a follow-up to the study conducted by Reinders et al. (2017).

The surveys were done in real restaurants with real guests; from sandwich lunch to a-la-carte, from brasserie stations to a dinner buffet and from company restaurants in a ministry to a steel factory. Eurest, Van der Valk Hotels, HMSHost, Van Gelder Fruit and Vegetables, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland, The Greenery, Rabobank and Unilever were involved in the catering industry.

The original dish was exchanged for an alternative in which more vegetables were prepared and presented more attractively. At the same time, the share of meat or fish was reduced. After that, food intake, waste and guest satisfaction were measured before and after adjusting the menu.

Results

Smart, attractive, and high quality offering leads to up to 113% more vegetables and up to 13 % less meat/fish consumed by restaurant visitors, while the level of guest satisfaction remains the same or even rises. This has been demonstrated in four scientific studies at nine catering and restaurant establishments by Wageningen Economic Research and the Louis Bolk Institute and Greendish.