Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 17

colors matter

head to a fast food location that is perceived to be a more convenient, tasty
and inexpensive option.
A September 2013 study published
in the American Journal of Public
Health confirmed that the majority of
people who frequented McDonald's
locations in New York City did not consider listed nutritional information
when
making
food
choices.
Unfortunately, not only is this data likely too cumbersome for the average consumer, the public is constantly bombarded with nutrition information that
leaves them confused and frustrated
about how to make food choices that
support good health.

Traffic Light Program

A "colors matter" concept provides
quick nutrition information.

education around healthy eating behaviors. The right set of marketing tools
along with a pricing model that rewards
healthy choices can serve to gently
nudge employees towards the healthful
options and a sustained improvement in
dietary behaviors.
Besides menu options prepared from
scratch using seasonal ingredients, talented chefs can employ many techniques to create delicious foods that
happen to be healthy too. While it may
seem counterintuitive, limiting access
to unhealthy foods like cheeseburgers
and French fries does not typically
prove successful. Employees are more
likely to leave the corporate office and

A marketing plan that offers customers
valuable nutrition information in a quick
and easy format has been shown to be
an effective way to encourage healthy
eating. A recent report published in
Preventive Medicine showed that the
implementation of a "traffic light" foodlabeling concept at Massachusetts
General Hospital led to a significant
increase in purchases of healthy options.
By labeling foods green for the healthiest choices, yellow for items that are less
healthy and red for items that are the
least healthy, customers were given
visual cues, making it easy and effortless
to make the nutritious choice. It is also
well documented in the literature that
strategically placing healthy options in
more visible locations encourages better
purchasing behaviors.
The "traffic light" or "color matters"
approach to nutrition labeling in corporate cafés is an important example of
how an employer's wellness program
(offering biometric screening and education) can work hand-in-hand with a

healthy working environment (where
behaviors can be practiced) in order to
promote healthy lifestyles. For example, an individual who may not realize
the health impact of their daily "red"
purchases learns through biometric
screening that they have high cholesterol. That person may slowly evolve
their purchases to more green choices
over time.
The Mass General report found the
simple labeling system increased the
number of participants who were likely to look at the available nutrition
information from 15 to 33 percent over
the course of two months. Education
on healthy behaviors is not enough,
but engaging employees and providing them with the tools they need to
make healthy choices while at work is
necessary for success.
As employers seek solutions for corporate wellness programs in an effort
to create a workplace environment that
encourages healthy behaviors, the onsite café should be considered a vital
part of the equation. Offering employees access to nutritious foods is an
important perk and one that can support health, focus and productivity.
Implementing a "traffic light" or "color
matters" concept is a useful tool to
conveying complex nutrition information in a simple, approachable way that
can deliver real results in shifting
employees' purchasing habits for
improved health.
Alison Acerra, MS, RD, is the national
nutrition and wellness manager for
Guckenheimer, a foodservice organization that is focused on the impact of
food on wellness in the workplace. She
can be reached at Aacerra@guckenheimer.com.
food & drink * spring 2014 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

17


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food and Drink - Spring 2014

Contents
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover1
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover2
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 1
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 2
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Contents
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 4
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 5
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 6
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Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover3
Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - Cover4
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