The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have set up the Workforce Nutrition Alliance to support employers adopt workforce nutrition programmes. The Alliance focuses on four core areas of work: healthy food at work; nutrition education; nutrition-focused health checks; and breastfeeding support. The Workforce Nutrition Alliance aims to support employers to adopt and expand workforce nutrition programmes and impact 3 million employees in their organizations and supply chains by 2025.
Creating a working environment that supports good nutrition is good for employees and employers.
Most people eat at least one meal at work every day, so it is important that work environments help rather than hinder making food choices that are healthy and nutritious. This is particularly critical for people who work long hours, in physically demanding jobs, and may be far away from home, whether on construction sites, in factories, or on farms.
To date, a lot of the literature around workforce nutrition focuses on interventions and policies in corporate office settings, often in high-income countries, many as a component to health and wellness programmes. Studies look at small nudges that can shift employee behaviour, as well as re-thinking the types of food that are made available on site (whether in cafeterias/canteens, communal kitchens or vending machines). While there are important lessons to be learned from these initiatives, we need more tested examples on what employers in low- and middle-income countries can do to make safe and nutritious food options more available during working hours – and how governments can support and enforce these programmes.
What are the ways in which the public and private sectors can come together to identify a common understanding and approach to workforce nutrition – what does it mean, what are the most effective interventions, who pays and who benefits?