Sarah Price: Quality Assurance for the Public Sector Foodservice

Researcher: Sarah Price

My name is Sarah Price and I am an Associate Nutritionist. Originally from Germany, I moved to Bournemouth about 5 years ago, where I studied within the School of Health and Social Care at Bournemouth University. Here I studied for my BSc (Hons) Nutrition and MSc Public Health. Having gained insights into both clinical and industry roles of nutritionists I have discovered that my interest lies within the role of Nutrition and Public Health in the catering industry. Therefore, I am excited that I have been given the opportunity to study for a PhD within the School of Tourism and am looking forward to the next three years.

For many people eating out has become an integral part of modern life and with this trend increasing, there is more consumer interest to know the provenance of ingredients. When eating out it is difficult for the consumer to make sense of the nutritional profile of meals in addition to being unable to access information as to whether meals provided meet their needs and values. A great number of consumers are aware of the role diet plays in the development of certain diseases, which has changed their expectations in food. Not only do consumers put a great emphasis on healthy food, other values include sustainable production, animal welfare and origin.

Providing the consumer with greater information can increase trust in the products and the food produce. Trust in the food chain has been broken and consumers have shown strong reactions to past food scares. Consumers have the right to be provided with food that meets their non-superficial food values and where proof cannot be obtained through microbiological test, consumers rely on assurance provided by industry that these values are met and that stakeholders of the industry are worthy of their trust.

The aim of this study is to critically evaluate if the relationship between food values and trust can be used in quality assurance to establish consumer confidence in public sector food-service.

A mixed methods approach has been chosen for this study in order to gain a more complete understanding of the values consumers attach to trust within public sector food-service. Through the use of this approach, different perspectives can be explored and the consumer as well as industry viewpoints can be compared.

The research will be conducted in two countries, UK and Germany. Within these countries consumers will be sampled from the work-place setting, as this constitutes a situation where the main meal is taken outside the home on a consistent basis and a large part of daily consumed calories are provided here. Industry insights will be gained from a sample of industry stakeholders within the public sector food-service.