Lessons learnt from a feasibility study on price incentivised healthy eating promotions in workplace catering establishments
Mackison et al., JHND Early View.
It is recognised that the worksite catering sector is likely to play a pivotal role in influencing dietary intake in adults of working age. The present study aimed to assess the feasibility of engaging worksites in a healthy eating intervention, implementing a price incentivised main meal intervention and measuring indicative intervention responses to inform the design of a future trial.
Workplaces registered with the Scottish Healthy Living Award were invited to participate. The EatSMART intervention (a reduced price, healthy meal combination plus promotions) was implemented over 10 weeks in two worksites. Implementation was assessed by observational and sales data. Indicative effects on food habits were measured using online pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Focus group discussions and interviews were used to determine catering staff and consumer acceptability.
Thirty-seven worksites were invited to participate and four worksites responded positively. Two sites (with 1600 and 500 employees, respectively) participated. Both required significant implementation support. Estimated sales data indicated that the uptake of promoted items varied by week (range 60–187 items) and by site. A poor response rate from questionnaires limited the evaluation of intervention impact. Consumers reported improved value for money and quality. Both sites reported an intention to continue the intervention delivery.
Significant efforts are required to engage worksite catering teams and implement healthy eating interventions. Evaluation methods require further development to improve data collection. Responses from consumers and catering staff suggest that further work in this area would be welcomed.