The Internet is widely accessible to the general public and is one of the most preferred sources of nutrition information1. In the first quarter of 2012, 83.7% of adults in the UK had used the Internet, providing evidence of the increasing opportunities of the Internet to reach large numbers of people in a cost-effective manner2. While the Internet appears to offer a promising medium for delivering nutrition education, there is a need to provide credible information via this channel.
Several nutrition intervention studies utilising Internet technology have been performed in work-place settings. Work-place settings provide mechanisms by which to promote dietary change since they offer accessibility to large populations of adults who can be surveyed repeatedly3. Previous work-place nutrition interventions have mainly focussed on promoting changes in fruit, vegetable and fat consumption. No work-place intervention study in England has yet promoted the Mediterranean diet (MD), a dietary pattern which encompasses current dietary recommendations for health promotion, but might be more appealing to consumers since it is an established eating pattern, which is recognised for its palatability among Western populations4. A web-based MD nutrition intervention aimed at work-place settings could therefore be an effective means of improving population health.
In order to design a web-based MD nutrition intervention it is important to examine three inter-related research questions: 1) what is the nutrition knowledge of the target population?; 2) to what extent does the target population already adhere to the MD?; and 3) what are the nutrition information needs and expectations of the target population? This information is needed to provide a starting point for the development of successful web-based approaches to promote the MD among adult employees in England.