Project: Promoting stakeholder adherence to Mediterranean Diet on Campus through menu interventions and social marketing strategies

Acronym MedDieSMEnus4Campus
Duration 15/05/2023 - 15/05/2026
Project Topic Food service comprises the production of meals consumed outside the home, including consumers from all age groups and in different sectors. This service sector has evolved through the years, providing an increasing number of meals, which have been drifting away from the Mediterranean Food Pattern. Food service is an important setting for public health interventions, educating consumers and modulating behaviours through the meals provided. Prior research on eating habits has mainly focused on a single stakeholder - typically consumers - and on a narrow set of outcome variables. Although these studies provide important clues about the determinants of adherence to food offer, research has yet to address this issue using an integrative approach of multiple stakeholders (e.g., the consumers, food providers, decisors) across a set of different variables. Also, intervention initiatives, usually act only on the environment without strategies that efficiently engage all the stakeholders involved. Social Marketing is one of the strategies, empirically verified, designed to promote change behavior, which contributions to health and well being of citizens are positively recognized by many. Establishing and managing long-term partnerships that include different groups of stakeholders - consumers, government, retailers and other players - are key elements in the application of mid and upstream social marketing to complex issues. This project, developed in Portugal, Turkey, and Croatia, aims to identify the compliance of food service menus with the Mediterranean Diet in public high education institutes canteens, pinpointing opportunities to intervene, namely: 1) promoting changes in the food offer addressing proximity to the Mediterranean Food Pattern, creating, and offering plant-based meals, with seasonable and local food products and 2) developing tailored social marketing strategies to engaging stakeholders to encourage healthier and sustainable food habits. It gathers a team comprised of nutrition experts on public health and food service, food technologists, gastronomy experts, psychologists, and marketers, with a vast experience and professional skills. To achieve the objectives researches will: 1) develop and index to evaluate compliance of menus with the Mediterranean Diet; 2) based on personal interviews, define priority stakeholders and define methodology for engagement; 3) evaluate perceptions, barriers and facilitators through self-administered surveys and in-depth interviews; 4) develop of a 1-month meal plan framework; 5) develop tools concerning the concept premises to empower the catering employees and consumers to understand the proposed menu methodology; 6) develop a new food concept/product “student bag” (meal on the go) and test it for industry scale up; 7) use previous diagnose to develop social/emotional marketing strategies directed to stakeholders and consumers to achieve food behaviour change and 8) measure the impacts of the implemented strategies through a feasibility test. The project's main ambition is to change the food service paradigm, by creating and implementing a new healthy and sustainable food service concept that truly complies with the Mediterranean diet, as well as solutions that comply with consumers new needs, and also developing and implementing strategies that engage all the stakeholders with this concept. We expect to create the reference in terms of food offer that will be demanded by consumers of the next generations and the standpoint to inspire the other food service sectors/ settings achieving an effective and sustainable food offer change and positively influence food service consumers’ food pattern towards Mediterranean recommendations, while addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (3 - good health and 12 - responsible consumption and production; 17 - partnerships for the goals).
Network PRIMA
Call Section 2 – Multi-topic 2022

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Escola Superior de Tecnologia da Saúde. Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa. Portugal Partner Portugal
2 Instituto Portugues de AdmInistração e Marketing - Europeia ID Partner Portugal
3 Instituto Universitário de Lisboa - Cis_ISCTE Partner Portugal
4 University of Zagreb Partner Croatia
5 University of Zagreb. Faculty of Agriculture Partner Croatia
6 Hacettepe University. Faculty of Health Sciences Partner Türkiye
7 Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto Coordinator Portugal