Public Health Nutrition


Effectiveness of a Canteen Take Away concept in promoting healthy eating patterns among employees

Anne D Lassena1 c1, Lotte Ernsta2, Sanne Poulsena2, Klaus K Andersena3, Gitte L Hansena2, Anja Biltoft-Jensena1 and Inge Tetensa1

a1 Department of Nutrition, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Moerkhoej Bygade 19, DK-2860 Soeborg, Denmark

a2 The Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark

a3 Informatics and Mathematical Modelling, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark


Objective To investigate the effectiveness of a relatively novel concept of providing employees with healthy ready-to-heat meals to bring home to their families, here referred to as Canteen Take Away (CTA).

Design Employees’ dietary intake on two weekdays when they received free CTA was compared with that on weekdays when they did not receive CTA. Four non-consecutive 24 h dietary recalls were applied to assess dietary intake on a daily basis. Moreover, a digital photographic method was used to assess evening meal intake for three consecutive weeks. Data were analysed using a mixed-effects model.

Setting A financial worksite offering CTA.

Subjects Twenty-seven employees.

Results Overall dietary quality as expressed by the energy density of the food (excluding beverages) was found to be significantly lower on days consuming CTA meals compared to days not consuming CTA with regard to evening meal intake (average difference: −187 (95 % CI −225, −149) kJ/100 g) and on a daily basis (average difference: −77 (95 % CI −132, −21) kJ/100 g). Other favourable differences included increased vegetable intake (average difference: 83 (95 % CI 67, 98) g/evening meal, 109 (95 % CI 62, 155) g/d).

Conclusion The present study shows that providing healthy take-away dinners has potential for promoting healthy dietary habits among employees. This reinforces the importance of availability and convenience as effective tools to promote healthy eating habits.

(Received June 28 2010)

(Accepted May 19 2011)

(Online publication June 27 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email