Food 2030 (EU food innovation policy) highlights boosting innovation and empowering communities as a key priority. It wants value-added products to meet the needs, values and expectations of society in a responsible and ethical way. However, the food service market (caterers, cafes, takeaways, pubs/restaurants, café, food trucks, contract caterers, hospitals, schools etc.) is challenged by a lack of growth (just 5%in three years in the UK), price pressure from food retailers and changing consumer behaviour. Obesity is a public health time bomb but as consumer interest in healthy and sustainable food continues to rise, European food service businesses face a win-win opportunity: they can grow their businesses AND empower consumers to make healthier choices.
Stimulating Healthy Food Service Innovation (SUSTAIN) seeks to empower food service SMEs with the innovation knowledge and skills to introduce healthy, affordable products to market, thus boosting their competitiveness and contribution to a healthier society. To ensure our approach seeks maximum reach and impact, we will provide enterprise support centres – the main source of training and support for small businesses –with the resources they need to radically improve the innovation training they provide to small food service firms.
Obesity is a public health time bomb but as consumer interest in healthy and sustainable food continues to rise, European food service businesses face a win-win opportunity: they can grow their businesses AND empower consumers to make healthier choices. Stimulating Healthy Food Service Innovation (SUSTAIN) aims to provide VET bodies and food service businesses with up-to-date innovation and digitisation skills necessary to capitalize on these favourable circumstances.
Our SMART objectives are closely linked to our project outputs:
- Provide 500 SMEs, VET trainers and policymakers with rigorously researched, up-to-date knowledge on the business opportunities arising from the healthy food agenda. (IO1: Good practice healthy food service compendium)
- Provide 100 food sector trainers with new resources to introduce healthy food innovation courses for their client base reaching 2,000 food service SMEs (IO2: OERs)
- Boost the effectiveness of the aforementioned courses and widen access to 1,000 food service SME owners and employees by developing an online platform, “Healthy Food Innovation and Digitization for the Food Service Sector” (IO3).
SUSTAIN has been designed to impact positively in the long term to build the capacity of food service SMEs to introduce healthier options leading to more growth in the SME sector, greater choices of healthier food service offerings for the consumer and ultimately, improved health in communities and reduced health care costs. Such an initiative has never been more important with obesity on the rise.
The impact at a local level by providing access to highly innovative yet accessible training resources, we position these businesses with the skills from which to creatively innovate new healthier food offerings and understand the impact that digitization is beginning to make on their sector. “Fast” does not have to necessarily equal “unhealthy.”