Characteristics of Canteens at Elementary Schools, Upper Secondary Schools and Workplaces that Comply with Food Service Guidelines and Have a Greater Focus on Food Waste

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Mar 28;16(7):1115. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16071115.


Policy actions to improve the nutritional environment include the provision of official food service guidelines. This study aimed to examine compliance with food service guidelines for hot meals as well as self-evaluated focus on food waste reduction across settings, i.e., elementary schools, upper secondary schools and workplaces, and different canteen characteristics. The same five criteria for hot meals were applied for all settings with regard to serving of fruit and vegetables, fish, wholegrain product and high fat meat and dairy products. A self-administered questionnaire survey was conducted as a cross-sectional study among 680 Danish canteens. Canteens having a high degree of organic food procurement were more likely to comply with the five criteria for hot meals combined (OR 2.00 (Cl 1.13,3.53)). Also, the use of organic food together with having a meal policy was associated with reported focus on food waste reduction (OR 1.91 (CI 1.12,3.25) and 1.84 (Cl 1.31,2.59), respectively). Compliance with individual criteria varied across settings with elementary schools being more likely to comply with criteria on, e.g., maximum serving of non-wholegrain products, whereas workplaces were more likely to comply with criteria on, e.g., minimum fruit and vegetable content and serving of fish. In addition, specific characteristics, e.g., serving system, were found to predict compliance with some of the criteria. These findings highlight the need to address differences in canteen characteristics when planning implementation support for both guideline and food waste reduction initiatives.

Keywords: UN Sustainable Development Goals; elementary schools; food and nutritional environment; hot meals; organic food; upper secondary schools; workplace.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Diet, Healthy / standards*
  • Female
  • Food Services / standards*
  • Guidelines as Topic*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recycling / standards*
  • Refuse Disposal / standards*
  • Schools / standards*
  • Workplace / standards*
  • Young Adult