A survey conducted by industry body British Summer Fruits questioning 2,000 employees in the UK has shown more than half think their mood, productivity and stress levels at work would be improved if they were provided with healthy food, like fresh fruit, by their employers.
The latest piece of research by BSF is backed by corporate well-being nutritionist Kate Cook who says the cost of poor nutrition and diet dents economic productivity.
She advocates a free or subsidised fresh fruit initiative for employees, claiming that large corporations and SMEs who provide fresh fruit and encourage a culture of healthy eating rather than providing sugar-laden snacks, see better productivity in the workforce.
“In my experience, the companies that have the lowest staff turnover are the ones that really invest in their staff well-being, particularly giving them access to great food choices,” she says.
“Enlightened companies are seeing that introducing fresh fruit into the workplace, such as a punnet of berries for breakfast or for snacking on during meetings, leads to improved concentration, productivity, and a reduction in health problems and work absences.”
The BSF research found that UK companies are doing little to encourage a culture of healthy eating; one third provide sugary snacks as fuel or to celebrate good work.
And, almost 80% of all meeting room snacks provided by offices were fizzy drinks, sugary biscuits and sweets.
“Using sugary food as a reward can create an addictive spiral that wrongly associates sugar with spikes in productivity and hard-work,” adds Cook.
One in ten employees said they are tempted to overindulge in every meeting and a third eat only because it is in front of them.
More than three quarters of employees did not know who to speak to in order to set up a healthy eating programme, while over half (52%) claimed they worked more productively and were in a better mood (55%) at work when they ate healthily.
According to BSF, the research demonstrates how nutritional initiatives should be “front of mind for businesses” and by offering fresh fruit, alongside other healthy food, instead of fizzy drinks, biscuits and cakes, is a cheap and easy way for UK companies to get more of our their staff and contribute towards a better economy.