Productivity of the workforce has been an integral part of business success for centuries. Research undertaken by the Institute of Optimum (ION) has led one of the UK’s most innovative contract catering organisations, MITIE Catering Services, to address the balance between eating habits and work performance.
ION’s survey (www.MyVitality.com - 37,000 UK adults - 2005 ONUK Survey) looked at employed people in London and the South East. The objective was to understand the benefits of improving nutrition and eating habits and how subsequent changes in diet and nutrition could affect productivity and efficacy.
Of those surveyed, only 6% were deemed as being in optimum health. The rest were considered to be in either poor or moderate health, describing themselves as being stressed, depressed and burnt out. Of those considered in poor or moderate health 80% reported low energy levels with 82% becoming quickly impatient when commuting. 46% reported suffering from depression and 40% said it was hard to shift infections.
Those termed in optimum health (6% of the survey) said that they experienced no lack of energy or feelings of depression or anxiousness. When the diets of the samples were compared, it was found that diets that included wheat, dairy, refined sugar, caffeine and red meat appeared to have negative connotations. Yet vegetables, water, fruits and pulses had a positive effect on wellbeing.
The study went on to look at augmenting productivity through reducing stress levels, increasing energy levels and enhancing memory through nutrition.
A 3-month project with 29 individuals and looked at the impact of changing their eating habits and highlighted:
* single sugar based snack each day can half the likelihood of being in optimum health
* low wheat dairy consumers are twice as likely to be in optimum health as high consumers
* fruit has more benefits than those associated with vegetables
MITIE Catering Service’s have subsequently taken the research and created City Living, a lifestyle catering concept that capitalises on the nutritional values of food to benefit both work productivity and a healthier lifestyle for the employee.
Further research undertaken by MITIE in association with their nutritionists highlighted that the stresses associated with urban living (pollution, using computers, work pressure, commuting to work etc) caused toxins and increased free radicals in the body. However, the body is able to cope with the expulsion of toxins and free radicals through the absorption of key vitamins including A, B, C and E in addition to the minerals selenium and zinc.
By labelling menus and food items with their key nutritional values and subsequent effects on well-being, MITIE’s City Living concept can help with workplace productivity and overall work-life balance.
Anthony Bennett, Managing Director of MITIE Catering Services, London said: “Nutritional values of food has come to the forefront in the last few years and the research that we used has enabled us to marry good nutrition with positive ways of enhancing productivity and well-being at both work and home. This concept recognises that food is an intrinsic part of the work-life balance and should be taken as a very serious part of performance improvement in any organisation”.
Adam Porter-Blake, Director of Nutricom Consulting who is working in association with MITIE said: “This survey has far reaching impact on society and highlights the need for good nutrition in the workplace as well as the home. By balancing nutrition, we are effectively working to prevent and lower the risk of illnesses and stress levels in the workplace. MITIE have translated this research into an exemplary catering concept that could easily be translated across the workplace, fine dining, hotel food and beverage, events, schools, universities and other such establishments”.
For further information: please contact Triggerfish - 020 7403 8894
Notes to Editors
· MITIE Catering Services (London) Ltd, 22 Shand Street, London, SE1
· MITIE is one of the UK’s leading multi-disciplinary support services companies, providing a range of skilled and semi-skilled services to customers both in the public and private sectors. Its large and flexible services portfolio, ranges from Engineering Maintenance, Facilities Management and Security to Cleaning, Landscaping and Fit-out. MITIE now employs over 38,000 people across the UK and has a turnover exceeding £800 million (31st March 2005).
· MITIE is an acronym for Management Incentive Through Investment Equity. It’s an organisation that stands out because of its unique business model and the emphasis on its founding philosophy of enabling people to develop to their full potential. MITIE’s employees are focused on working hard together, supporting their customers, listening to them and making sure that the services we provide connect with their needs.
· MITIE Catering Services is the division within MITIE that specialises in the provision of hospitality and executive dining, staff feeding and consultancy. They have a wide range of customers across the UK in diverse sectors, which include Rolls-Royce, Osborne Clarke, the National Audit Office, ntl, Jaeger and BAE Systems.
· The business has succeeded through developing a food service that delivers high levels of customer satisfaction and patronage, while continually investing in their food concept function dedicated to driving up standards in vendor management, commodity selection, kitchen process and food offer ranges. Catering’s service excellence was recently recognised with Hospitality Assured accreditation, a world-class standard for service and business excellence in the UK hospitality industry.
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