Nutri-Score is having a positive influence. A full year after rolling out this nutritional information program in the school cafeterias and company canteens it serves, Elior sees guests choosing healthier, more balanced meals.
Our guests make healthier choices when Nutri-Score labels are displayed in our restaurants. This was the finding of the Elior and EREN (Nutritional Epidemiology Research Team) survey headed by Professor Chantal Julia and requested by France’s Ministry of Health and Solidarity. It was conducted over three months in two Parisian company canteens and analyzed just under 60,000 meals served to 3,300 guests in four dining spaces (two pilot and two control). The findings show that guests whose restaurants displayed Nutri-Score labels made healthier meal choices and reduced their intake of calories, sugar and saturated fat.
In school cafeterias, Nutri-Score is also popular with kids and their parents, as it provides clear information about the nutritional value of school meals and assures them that the entire weekly meal plan is well balanced. Elior will survey eight schools in France from September 19th to 30th to assess how well students are using the labels and whether they are having a lasting impact on kids’ eating habits.
“As a socially responsible caterer, Elior’s priority is to continue improving all its starter, main, and dessert recipes—from sustainable sourcing and vegetarian options, to using new culinary techniques that preserve nutrients. The Group is also the first contract caterer to deploy Nutri-Score in the restaurants it manages, with clear and transparent information about each of its dishes to help its guests eat healthily every day. Since 2019, the label has been introduced in 642 company canteens and 455 school cafeterias across France. When combined with awareness-raising and educational efforts, Nutri-Score is a wonderful tool and a gauge that helps our guests combine a healthy diet with eating for pleasure,” explains Jean-Yves Fontaine, CEO of Elior France.
Nutri-score very popular with our guests
The survey headed up by Professor Chantal Julia found that guests make healthier choices, in terms of both the quality and quantity of food they choose, when the Nutri-Score label is displayed in their company dining facility. Guests ate more nutritional meals, fewer unhealthy foods, and smaller quantities.
What is more, 95.5% of people who answered the survey understood that the Nutri-Score label grades a dish’s nutritional value, and 94.4% would like it to be permanently displayed in their canteen. When used daily, the Nutri-Score system helps guests make informed decisions—71.8% of them say that nutritional labelling guides their choice of dishes.
Helping chefs continually improve their dishes
The Nutri-Score label objectively assesses a recipe’s nutritional value, and helps our chefs and dieticians create healthier, more balanced recipes. For example, Elior’s cafeterias and restaurants now serve a chocolate zucchini cake, so guests can indulge in a chocolate treat with a better Nutri-Score than a traditional chocolate cake. To boost a starter’s Nutri-Score, our chefs have also devised a vinaigrette that uses fromage blanc instead of oil, lifting the dressing’s score from D to B.
For its corporate canteens, Elior France’s new Re-Set line of healthy, flavorful meals uses the sugars and “good fats” that occur naturally in certain ingredients. When Re-Set was launched at the start of this year, Elior Business and Industry Executive Chef Stéphane Cathelin commented, “Nutri-Score made us rethink the way we do things. Why use refined sugar when we can use honey or coconut sugar? How can we include oils that are naturally rich in omega-3 like olive, canola, and sesame?” The smaller menu promises “fewer but better choices”. Examples include low-sugar desserts (30g max per portion, and typically closer to 20g) and main dishes made with ingredients that are naturally more nutritious, such as oily fish like mackerel or sardines on the seafood menu.
Elior, a pioneering leader in transparent information for guests
In France today, nearly 455 school cafeterias and 642 corporate canteens operated by Elior display Nutri-Scores on their daily menus. In Europe, the Group is mounting an awareness-raising campaign as it progressively rolls out Nutri-Score in Spain, Italy, and the UK.
Elior is the first contract catering group to display Nutri-Scores and allow its guests to make choices based on a dish’s nutritional value and cooking methods. This addresses a major public health issue, since a balanced diet that is both nutritional and delicious contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
Whenever we implement Nutri-Score at a new site, we conduct awareness-raising campaigns that include signage in canteens and cafeterias and apps like TimeChef (for corporate canteen guests) and App’Table (for families). We don’t want to stigmatize any ingredients, whatever their score. Our goal is to educate guests about what a balanced diet looks like over the course of a day and multiple meals.
1. The study was conducted from December 16th, 2019, to March 13th, 2020, in the company canteens of La Poste and Yves Rocher, respectively in Paris and La Gacilly. The researchers analyzed 36,114 meal trays containing items that 2,063 individual guests chose freely at the La Poste canteen and 24,355 trays that 1,237 individual guests chose freely at the Yves Rocher canteen. Researchers compared two canteens at each company: one displayed Nutri-Scores, the other provided no nutritional information. Professor Chantal Julia published a scientific article detailing the findings in December 2021.