In the Mediterranean countries profound changes in diet are taking place, largely due to cultural and socio-economic changes in lifestyle, which are leading to the erosion of the Mediterranean food cultures. The diet modernization process is noticeable; it has generated not only a modification of food choices in the direction of unhealthy foods, but also the habit of sedentary behaviours leading to an imbalance between energy intake and consumption. All of this has negative health impacts, as shown by the ever-increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity, as well as the rise of chronic diet-related diseases.
The SWITCHtoHEALTHY project aims to generate an overall change of approach to the modern problem of eating behaviours, by strengthening the role of families towards the promotion of the sustainable Mediterranean food model. The main goal is to generate an actual switch to healthier dietary models, that are more consistent with the Mediterranean Diet.
The project SWITCHtoHEALTHY aims to generate a dietary behaviour change in the direction of a greater adherence to the Mediterranean food model, by strengthening the role of families in the process of acquiring and maintaining healthy eating habits.
The Mediterranean Diet (MD) is a healthy and sustainable food model, with an essentially plant-based dietary pattern (high consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, cereals, and legumes). This goal will be reached by making available to families a combination of hands-on educational material and digital tools and complementing the dietary and lifestyle recommendations with easy-to-eat healthier snacking products.
Workplan – citizen-centric circular approach
The SWITCHtoHEALTHY methodology is based on a citizen-centric circular approach starting from citizens and delivering innovations back to them. A total of 360 families from three Mediterranean countries (Spain, Turkey, and Morocco) are being recruited.
Workplan – learning through playing approach
A combination of digital tools and hands-on educational material, developed on the basis of a learning through playing approach, will be produced and offered to families to foster eating changes. The digital tools (specific Apps and a life simulation game) will help parents prepare weekly healthier dietary plans; the educational material produced with co-creation groups will enhance knowledge and motivation.
Workplan – easy-to-eat healthier snacking products
Finally, easy-to-eat healthier snacking products will be created and introduced in the children dietary plan to substitute less healthier options. Specifically, three food companies located in Morocco, Spain and Turkey will develop healthy and sustainable plant-based new food products adapted to children nutritional profile and formulated on the basis consumers’ demands and expectations. The project aims and results will be promoted through a wide communication and awareness campaign.
SWITCHtoHEALTHY will result in increasing the adherence to MD, also introducing innovative consumer-oriented business models. SWITCHtoHEALTHY will also extrapolate sustainable models in order to reproduce them in different environments (workplaces, university canteens, restaurants, etc.) and in other countries, beyond the project borders.
The project started on the 1st of April 2022 and will end on the 31 of March 2025, for a total duration of 36 months.
The SWITCHtoHEALTHY project is part of the PRIMA Programme supported by the European Union under the Grant Agreement number 2133 – Call 2021 Section 1 Agrofood Topic 1.3.1 IA