Businesses and community get great results from Choose Healthier pilot program

Released 30/08/2016

The groundbreaking Choose Healthier pilot project has established that the Canberra community will embrace readily available, competitively priced, healthier food and drink options across a variety of local businesses, Assistant Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris announced today.  

During the three-month pilot, five local businesses trialled a number of innovative approaches to help address the increasing rates of overweight and obesity in the ACT community. The pilot was run in by the Canberra Business Chamber in partnership with the ACT Nutrition Support Service and the ACT Government.

“The success of the Choose Healthier pilot project shows that the community will embrace healthy food options if local businesses make them available and competitively priced,” said Minister Fitzharris.

“Given the success of the pilot, I’m pleased to announce the ACT Government will commit $200,000 to further implement this program, based on the lessons learnt, for another two years. This provides an opportunity for more local businesses to embrace this fantastic initiative and continue to ensure the healthier choice is the easy choice for all Canberrans.

“I would like to thank each of the businesses that participated in the pilot – the Hellenic Club in Woden, Limelight Cinema in Tuggeranong, Tommy & Me Cafe in Macgregor and the IGA supermarkets at Nicholls and Kambah (Drakeford) – your assistance has provided us with vital information in relation to what consumers really want across a variety of businesses.

“It was excellent to see each of the businesses working closely with the ACT Nutrition Support Service, managed by Nutrition Australia ACT, to develop a diverse range of ideas suitable for their respective customers and then implement the healthier food choices with support from the Canberra Business Chamber.

“Some of the initiatives included a healthy snack box for kids at Tommy & Me Cafe as well as making healthier options more prominent in participating IGA supermarkets.  

“While competing with something like the iconic choc-top at the movies is very difficult, the pilot found that incremental steps can be made. Excluding choc-tops, frozen yoghurt outsold all other ice cream products at Limelight Cinema during the pilot.  

“The healthier spaghetti bolognese at the Hellenic Club was also popular, and they are now investigating whether it is feasible to source a healthier alternative for their most popular children’s meal, the chicken nuggets.  

“Importantly, the pilot showed that a business can enhance its reputation within the community by supplying and promoting healthier options, without being detrimental to their bottom line.

“We know it’s a long-term challenge to address the levels of overweight and obesity in the ACT, which is why the Government announced further funding of $1.05 million to support a number of Healthy Weight Initiative activities as part of the 2016–17 Budget.”

The Choose Healthier pilot project is part of the ACT Government’s Healthy Weight Initiative, supporting a healthy, active and productive community.

More information about the Choose Healthier pilot, including case studies about each of the businesses, is available on the Healthy Living website  Or visit the Canberra Business Chamber’s website

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Section: Meegan Fitzharris, MLA | Media Releases

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