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Public Health Nutr. 2011 Feb;14(2):193-202. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010002387. Epub 2010 Sep 23.

Essential actions for caterers to promote healthy eating out among European consumers: results from a participatory stakeholder analysis in the HECTOR project.

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Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Ghent University, Coupure links 653, 9000 Gent, Belgium.



To identify and assess actions by which the catering sector could be engaged in strategies for healthier eating out in Europe.


A SWOT analysis was used to assess the participation of the catering sector in actions for healthier eating out. Caterers subsequently shortlisted essential actions to overcome threats and weaknesses the sector may face when engaging in implementing these actions.


Analysis undertaken in the European Union-supported HECTOR project on 'Eating Out: Habits, Determinants and Recommendations for Consumers and the European Catering Sector'.


Thirty-eight participants from sixteen European countries reflecting a broad multi-stakeholder panel on eating out in Europe.


The catering sector possesses strengths that allow direct involvement in health promotion strategies and could well capitalise on the opportunities offered. A focus on healthy eating may necessitate business re-orientations. The sector was perceived as being relatively weak in terms of its dependency on the supply of ingredients and lack of financial means, technical capacity, know-how and human resources. To foster participation in strategies for healthier eating out, caterers noted that guidelines should be simple, food-based and tailored to local culture. The focus could be on seasonal foods, traditional options and alternative dishes rather than just on 'healthy eating'. Small-to-medium-sized enterprises have specific concerns and needs that should be considered in the implementation of such strategies.


The study highlights a number of possible policy actions that could be instrumental in improving dietary intake in Europe through healthier eating out.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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