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FOOD POLICY


set-up for such a change, there’s a risk we’re putting a big burden on operators that aren’t. For those that don’t have the resources it will be a huge amount of work,” he says while also acknowledging how it presents challenges around keeping menus refreshed and innovative. On the plus-side, Edwards agrees it could help inform consumer choices. “A lot of dishes we eat out are heavily laden with fat, salt and sugar that we don’t know about – some of the taste experiences we love the most come from foods that are high in those three ingredients, so it will be educational from that point of view,” he says.


But while calorie counting is a


manageable entry point for many people, it doesn’t off er a holistic nutritional picture. He advocates for a better understanding of nutrients over calories to devise healthy menus. “It’s about the individual body’s nutrition [and eating] the correct amounts of fruits and vegetables, roughage, high-fat


foods, protein, etc. We should look more at nutrients that are good for boosting certain parts of your body’s function – we don’t see enough of that,” Edwards explains.


Innovating healthy options As public awareness campaigns build momentum around healthy eating, Edwards is confi dent there will be increasing opportunities for operators to innovate and capitalize on nutritious menus. Working with chefs to off er


healthy eating and special diets training, he sees it as a chance for them to show off their skills by presenting signature dishes as low-FSS options. “Lots of the fl avors we love are based on adding that knob of butter or lots of salt, but chefs with the know-how can cook in a way so that meals off er fewer calories, but with all the taste and enjoyment,” Edwards says. “We can experiment with healthy and nutrient-rich produce to reformulate a traditional menu and present a dish


“Lots of the flavors we love are based on adding that knob of butter or lots of salt, but chefs with the know-how can cook in a way so that meals offer fewer calories, but with all the taste and enjoyment”


that once had 3,000 calories as a 1,000-calorie option.”


In landscapes where the term


‘healthy option’ often doesn’t draw mass appeal, such as schools, the challenge comes down to marketing – for which operators will need to think outside the box and learn lessons from one another. Taking one of his recent projects as an example, Edwards explains: “We’ve been involved with a caterer with great brand concepts in a high-school, serving up high-quality, scratch- cooked mains using fresh produce, but the presentation was bland.” To add market appeal, they drew inspiration from street food markets to rebrand the dishes as a fresh and exciting option. “Street food markets are based on rustic, unusual, enticing foods packaged in a novel way. So, what we’ve done is taken what appears to be a ‘boring healthy option’ and presented it as something exciting from a taste, texture and style point of view – as the premium product.” Edwards is confi dent that foodservice can help create a healthier nation. “This could be a tipping point in UK food attitudes by bringing everybody together. Before you’d have a big emphasis on health in school or hospital food, the next stage is to do it as a nation – and I think we’re closer to that now. We’re more knowledgeable than we’ve ever been.”


For more go to fcsi.org 129


GETTY IMAGES


EAME


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