Making the healthy choice, the easy choice
In today’s world of marketing and food-on-the-go, the foods and drinks that are most available and most advertised are often the least healthy.
In 2018/2019, the SMPCP Healthy Eating Working Group worked with food outlets at two soccer clubs, two swim centres and one sports and aquatic centre to test what would happen to sales when the menus were ‘nudged’ in a healthy direction.
A ‘nudge’ is a small change that can be made in a setting that influences people’s behaviour (VicHealth2018).
The Victorian Government Healthy Choices Guidelines use a ‘traffic light system’ to rate foods and drinks as ‘green’ (healthiest),
The goal is to offer menus with at least 50% GREEN items and no more than 20% RED items.
After assessing menus, the kiosk and canteen operators decided on the trial changes they wanted to implement and sales data was collected both before and during the nudge trial.
Our local results back up findings from many other Victorian projects – not only can customers be encouraged to make healthier purchasing decisions by making the sales environment healthier, it can be done without effecting profit.
- 121% increase in the availability of GREEN drinks
- 69% increase in the number of GREEN drinks sold
- 70% decrease in the availability of RED drinks
- 58% decrease in the number of RED drinks sold
- No effect on overall drink sales
- 92% of customers surveyed agreed they support the outlet in offering healthy food and drinks AND ALSO that clubs and leisure centres should be offering healthier options
- All outlet managers agreed with the principle of offering healthy choices in their venue
This sort of approach can be applied to many other settings such as schools, hospitals and workplaces. To find out how to get started on making healthy choices in your club or organisation, call the Healthy Eating Advisory Service (HEAS) on 1300 22 52 88 or visit the HEAS website.
The project was funded through the Department of Health and Human Services Health Promotion Innovation Grants Program.