Effective government policies are essential to increase the healthiness of food environments and to reduce obesity, chronic diseases and their related inequalities.

Food EPI logo

Food environments are defined as the collective physical, economic, policy and socio-cultural surroundings, opportunities and conditions that influence people’s food and beverage choices and nutritional status. Unhealthy food environments lead to unhealthy diets and excess energy intake which have consequences in levels of morbidity and mortality. It is critical that Governments implement preventive policies and actions to match the magnitude of the burden that unhealthy diets are creating. Monitoring the level of implementation of the policies and actions recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) is an important part of ensuring progress towards better nutritional health. The International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support (INFORMAS)  developed a Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food‐EPI) in 2013 to assess the extent of implementation of recommended food environment policies by national governments compared with international best practices and to derive concrete priority actions to fill implementation gaps identified. In the meantime the Food-EPI has been implemented in about 15 countries internationally.

The research team


The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food-EPI) process in Europe is conducted by researchers within the Horizon 2020 Science and Technology in Childhood Obesity Prevention (STOP) project and the Joint Programming Initiatives Policy Evaluation Network. The implementation of the Food-EPI in Europe is supported by INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/NCDs Research, Monitoring and Action Support), a global network of public-interest organisations and researchers that seeks to monitor and benchmark public and private sector actions to create healthy food environments and reduce obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally. INFORMAS is coordinated by the University of Auckland.

The partners

University of Auckland
Imperial College London
STOP logo
Policy Evaluation Network logo

The tool


The Healthy Food Environment Policy Index (Food‐EPI) includes two components (“policies” and “infrastructure support”), 13 domains and 47 good practice indicators. The Food-EPI has been developed based on recommendations from high‐level reports on improving population nutrition and consultations with international food policy experts. Good practice indicators will be tailored for the purposes of this project to the European context as the different levels of jurisdictions for different policy domains (i.e. national, European) need to be taken into account.

The Food EPI tool

The process


The Food‐EPI process at the country level involves the rating by national expert panels, including public health and nutrition experts, and representatives from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and medical associations, of the extent of implementation of food environment policies by their governments compared with international best practices. Experts' ratings are informed by comprehensive evidence of implementation for each indicator, verified by government officials and international best practice exemplars (benchmarks). Based on implementation gaps identified, experts propose concrete actions for implementation by their government and prioritize those according to importance and achievability criteria.

Process driven by panel of independent and government public health experts


Country Key contacts Institution Email Project link
Ireland Janas Harrington University College Cork j.harrington@ucc.ie PEN
Poland Joanna Zukowska Gdansk University of Technology joanna.zukowska@wilis.pg.gda.pl PEN
Germany Peter Von Philipsborn Ludwig Maximilians Universität pphilipsborn@ibe.med.uni-muenchen.de PEN
The Netherlands Maartje Poelman University of Utrecht M.P.Poelman@uu.nl PEN
Norway Liv Elin Torheim Oslo Metropolitan University livtor@oslomet.no PEN
Slovenia Mojca Gabrijelcic Ingrid Sotlar National Institute of Public Health Mojca.Gabrijelcic@nijz.si Ingrid.Sotlar@nijz.si STOP
Italy Marco Silano Drieda Zace Istituto Superiore di Sanità marco.silano@iss.it drieda_zace@hotmail.com STOP
Spain Marc Saez Universitat de Girona, Spain pep.tur@uib.es STOP
Estonia Eha Nurk Anu Aspollu National Institute for Health Development eha.nurk@tai.ee anu.aaspollu@tai.ee STOP
Portugal Miguel Arriaga Andreia Silva Benvinda dos Santos Maria João Gregório Rita Horgan Nicole Chaves miguelarriaga@dgs.min-saude.pt andreiasilva@dgs.min-saude.pt benvindasantos@dgs.min-saude.pt mariajoaobg@dgs.min-saude.pt ritahorgan@dgs.min-saude.pt nicole@dgs.min-saude.pt STOP
Finland Tiina Laatikainen Päivi Mäki National Institute for Health and Welfare tiina.laatikainen@thl.fi paivi.maki@thl.fi STOP
INFORMAS Food-EPI international module leader Dr Stefanie Vandevijvere University of Auckland Scientific Institute of Public Health Brussels s.vandevijvere@auckland.ac.nz Stefanie.vandevijvere@sciensano.be   STOP PEN INFORMAS

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