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Employee Nutrition - The Foundation of Health & Wellbeing


We all know intuitively that eating a healthy diet has benefits however providing Employee Nutrition Services in your workplace will help with the following:

  • Increased energy, ideas, motivation and enthusiasm
  • Strengthened morale, leading to physical and mental benefits which boosts self-confidence and enables employees to reach their full potential
  • Greater work performance and job satisfaction
  • Improved concentration
  • Stronger immune system - therefore less illness and stress related sickness
  • Reduction in absenteeism and presenteeism 
  • Better quality sleep and lessened lethargy
  • Improved mood and team work 
  • Lowered stress levels
  • Increased employee happiness
  • Improved blood pressure, body fat, visceral fat and cholesterol 
  • A greater bottom line


The Business Case

The International Labour Office stated that poor diet on the job is costing countries around the world up to 20 per cent in lost productivity. Improving your company’s productivity by addressing and improving employee lifestyle around diet will put performance back in the driving seat, increasing your bottom line.

According to Dame Carol Black, senior policy advisor on work and health to the British government, every £1 spent in workplace wellbeing can yield between £3 and £6 in gained productivity and efficiency. There are limited options that can give you that kind of return on investment. 


Research shows that employees are less effective in the workplace and have a higher level of ill health and absence when they consume an unhealthy diet. Employees will help to ensure a healthier, happier and safer workforce and avoid becoming lost in the following statistics:

  1. Absence – average of 7.6 days per employee which means a cost to business of £600 per employee per annum or £78 per employee per day
  2. Approximately 62% of people in England are overweight or obese. Obesity increased sharply throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. The proportion of those classified as obese increased from 13% of men in 1993 to 24% in 2012 and from 16% of women in 1993 to 25% in 2012
  3. US companies place exercise 1st and nutrition 2nd while UK companies place nutrition 7th
  4. CIPD 2013 report states ‘Organisations that evaluate wellbeing spend are twice as likely to increase spend for 2014. This indicates that spending on wellbeing is worthwhile and is seen as a ‘good investment’ and ‘promotion and prevention is better than recovery.’
  5. 131 million days were lost due to sickness absences in the UK in 2013. The most common reason, accounting for 30%, was major illnesses that includes sickness such as cough and colds
  6. The greatest number of working days lost in 2013 was due to musculoskeletal issues, at 30.6 million days lost
  7. An estimated 4.9 million people in England have cardiovascular disease – 11.73% of the population
  8. 1 in 10 cancers is caused by poor diet
  9. Up to 10% of sick leave and higher levels of productivity work loss at work may be attributed to lifestyle behaviours and obesity.
  10. Workplace health interventions may improve productivity by 1-2% which is likely to more than offset the costs of implementing interventions. Employees that are obese take an average of four extra days sick per year1 and in a company employing 100 people, this could mean a loss of more than £126,000 a year in lost productivity.2
  11. Obesity is strongly associated with sickness absence in the workplace. Maintaining a normal weight gives the lowest risk for sickness absence and the BDA review found that weight loss, weight gain and stable obesity increased the risk for sickness absence spells of all lengths. 3, 4
  12. It has been speculated that presenteeism costs UK workplaces £15bn per year, compared to around £8bn for absenteeism.5 Employees with musculoskeletal and other (chronic) health conditions report higher rates of absenteeism and presenteeism than workers without such conditions. Good nutritional care can improve outcomes for these workers.
  13. The BDA review found limited evidence in the scientific literature with regards to nutrition-related health behaviour changes and accidents, but there are indications that eating breakfast can have a positive influence.
  14. There is growing evidence to suggest that good nutrition is just as important for mental health as it is for physical health and that a number of conditions, including depression, may be influenced by dietary factors.6 Assisting people to effectively manage stress will have a positive impact on the ability to control both mood and weight.


1 Workplace policy and management practices to improve the health and wellbeing of employees, NICE 2015

2 Long Term Conditions Compendium of Information: Third Edition, Department of Health 2012.

3 Roos E, Laaksonen M, Rahkonen O (2014) Weight change and sickness absence - a prospective study among middle-aged employees. Eur J Pub Health; 25 (2): 263–7.

VanWormer JJ, Linde JA, Harnack LJ (2012) Weight change and workplace absenteeism in the Healthworks study. Obes Facts; 5 (5): 745-52.

IIP (Investors in People) (2014) 9 tips for countering presenteeism in the workplace. Available from: http://

Gatineau M, Dent M (2011) Obesity and Mental Health. Oxford: National Obesity Observatory.

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