Challenges to improve the nutritional quality of foods served by small independent takeaway outlets: Lessons from the 'Eating Out Coventry' project
PHE ePoster Library. Hands A. Sep 12, 2017; 186624; 175
Angela Hands
Angela Hands
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Abstract Introduction The frequent consumption of takeaway foods has been associated with obesity. In Coventry, the prevalence of obese adults is higher in areas of higher deprivation. The 'Eating Out Coventry' project worked with small independent takeaway outlets in some of these deprived areas to improve the nutritional quality of takeaway food. MethodThe research team made frequent visits to engage outlets with the project. Outlets were provided with a takeaway resource toolkit and a questionnaire was carried out to determine current practices.ResultsTakeaway outlets were resistant towards the project, which resulted in poor levels of engagement. Nine outlets agreed to take part and only four completed the final stage of the project. Main reasons for non-participation included: language barriers (majority of staff were non-English speaking); managers were difficult to reach and lack of time. Many outlets described financial difficulties and fierce competition; felt customers did not want healthier food; believed healthier foods were more expensive; were worried they would lose customers and were reluctant to make changes in case it changed the taste of the food.ConclusionThis study adds to the existing evidence showing that owners and managers of takeaway outlets can be difficult to reach, and reluctant to engage in voluntary public health interventions (which can be time-consuming and resource-heavy). Future studies involving academic and local authority partnerships are warranted, but they should ensure they are well-resourced, focus on changing owners' perceptions of healthy food, provide customer evidence and emphasise potential economic advantages of healthier choices.
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