“Healthy eating is top of mind for the workforce right now as they are more and more conscious of the impact of their workstyle on their overall health and wellbeing. Employees now hold their employers as responsible and companies are looking at ways to help staff fulfill their nutritional goals – whether in the office or working remotely,” says Pradere.
The rise in popularity of home delivery apps and subscription services such as Hello Fresh highlight that convenience rates highly with time-poor workers, traditionally health-conscious women and younger people.
US firm Freshly has seen a corresponding increase in demand from employers who want to send nutritious, ready-made meals to their remote workforce, while digital canteens – as championed by Brussels-based food-tech company Foodiz – are on the rise.
Employees of firms who subscribe to these services use an app to order lunches daily from a menu of fresh, healthy choices; the food is prepared offsite in a dark kitchen and later delivered to the office fridge for collection. Meanwhile remote workers benefit from home delivery with delivery costs paid by the employer.
Workplace design is catering for fresh appetites
While onsite canteens are nothing new, team kitchens are now also making their way into office design. As well as letting people cook healthy food, culinary activities can foster team bonding.
“When you share food, you share culture, and when employees enjoy cooking and eating together, it fuels a sense of belonging. This is what social sciences call ‘commensality’, and this is supported by a series of rituals that support social communion and harmony,” explains Pradere.
Take the International WELL Building Institute in New York for example, where staff benefit from a state-of-the-art communal kitchen, stocked with kitchen staples and fresh ingredients.
“It’s clear that in a dramatically world of work, healthy food is changing part of the new employee value proposition and organizations who cater for workforce wellbeing – across its mental, physical and social aspects – will benefit as result,” Pradere says.