By increasing the availability, visibility, and affordability of healthy, sustainable food and beverages, hospitals can model and make good food choice selections easy for employees, patients, and visitors. Often hospitals develop wellness committees or work with employee health and wellness departments to create criteria and implementation and evaluation plans.
Harborview Medical Center (UW Medicine) utilized behavioral economics strategies to encourage consumers to make healthier choices by increasing their fresh fruit and vegetable merchandising and identifying local and organic produce when possible.
Practice Greenhealth offers recommended strategies to create healthy food and beverage environments:
- Develop and implement a sustainable food and beverage labeling program. Include sustainability information (reference third-party certifications and foods grown locally) on menu labeling for meals served in retail and patient service.
- Develop and implement a hospital or health system-wide education program. Improve the visibility of healthy beverages and tap water and healthy sustainable food choices through cafeteria signage, internal newsletters, and featured events. To encourage healthier vending choices, remove advertisements for unhealthy beverages and snacks from vending machine facades.
- Develop a marketing strategy to increase sales of healthy, sustainable foods and beverages. Use promotion and placement for healthy and sustainable food options to improve product visibility. Pricing incentives, food sampling, and other combined promotions can encourage the selection of healthy and sustainable options over traditional offerings.
Developing a sustainable food service
- Vision statements, assessments, policies and plans
- Plant-Forward Future
- Tap water access
- Marketing and education
- Waste, recycling and resource management
- Less food to landfill
- Choosing environmentally preferable food service ware
- Resource management