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On-campus food environment, purchase behaviours, preferences and opinions in a Norwegian university community

Articles   |   25 June 2021 Date   |  


Objective: To assess the food environment at OsloMet, through the nutritional profile and processing level of available commercial foods and drinks, as well as to determine food-purchasing behaviours, preferences and opinions on the food environment, in order to identify whether interventions on campus need to be conducted.

Design: Cross-sectional descriptive study.

Setting: Pilestredet and Kjeller campus of OsloMet (Norway).

Participants: To analyse the nutritional profile of products offered at all food outlets (seven canteens, three coffee shops and two vending machines) at the main campuses three criteria were applied: those proposed by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition, the UK nutrient profiling model and those of the Food and Drink Industry Professional Practices Committee Norway. In addition, products were classified by processing level, using the NOVA system. Food purchasing, food choice behaviours and opinions were analysed through a survey online, in which 129 subjects participated.

Results: With regard to the first of the objectives, the combination of the above-mentioned criteria showed that 39·8 % of the products were 'unhealthy' and 85·9 % were 'ultra-processed'. Regarding the second objective, the most important determinants of food choice were taste, convenience, and cost and nutrition/health value. The most common improvements suggested were lowering the cost, improving the allergen information on labelling and increasing the variety of fresh and healthy foods.

Conclusions: A high proportion of the products offered were considered 'unhealthy' and highly processed. Interventions that improve food prices, availability and information on labelling would be well-received in this community.


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