Foodscapes and wellbeing in the workplace: A university setting

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Authors: Symonds, C.R., Martins, A.C. and Hartwell, H.J.

Journal: Nutrition and Food Science

Volume: 43

Issue: 4

Pages: 356-364

ISSN: 0034-6659

DOI: 10.1108/NFS-10-2012-0109

Purpose: Numerous factors can influence an individual's eating behaviour, including the environment where food is purchased and consumed; this has been termed the foodscape. Settings where meals are consumed by the same people habitually, such as that of workplaces, can significantly impact individuals' overall diets, highlighting an opportunity to improve their health. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent to which the foodscape within a university influences consumer food choice, both students and staff. Design/methodology/approach: A case study approach was taken where ten interviews were conducted with staff (n=5) and students (n=5) in a university establishment. Interviews were transcribed and analysed thematically. Codes were sorted into overarching research categories bringing meaning to the data, which could then be used in conjunction with outlet mapping. Findings: Results demonstrate that generally consumers were fairly healthy conscious; however, their behaviour did not reflect this. Personal factors were identified and it was also felt that the environment was not supportive or encouraging of healthy eating practices. Originality/value: The study concluded that while consumers are ultimately responsible for the lifestyle behaviour they lead, the environment has a significant opportunity to encourage healthy behaviour, a fact that is not always embraced by employers. There are a number of underlying or embedded issues in subjects which surfaced during the interview stage of the study. This work, therefore, contributes towards the body of knowledge in the understanding of the role of the foodscape within a workplace setting. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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