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Case study reproduced with permission from Wyndham City Council.
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Healthy sports and recreation centre cafés

Sports and recreation settings offer an opportunity to have a positive impact on community health, not only through the chance to be physically active but also through the food and drinks available and promoted to customers.

Western Leisure Service opened in 2014 with a contractual commitment with Wyndham City Council to making a positive change by adopting the Victorian Government Healthy Choices Guidelines for sport and recreation centres.

As part of this, they trialled healthier drinks for 3 months by aiming for less than 20% of their fridges with RED drinks (like sports drinks and soft drinks) and at least 50% GREEN drinks (like water and small milks). They also switched from offering RED milkshakes to GREEN smoothies.

We conducted an evaluation to see what the effect of making these changes was for the healthiness of customer purchases, drinks revenue (dollar sales) and retailer and consumer satisfaction with changes.


What did we do?

  • We tracked changes in the display of RED, AMBER and GREEN drinks over trial period.
  • We monitored changes in volume of drinks sold and dollar (revenue) sales before and after the trial, taking account of seasonal trends.
  • We interviewed council and café staff before and after the trial to find out about the benefits and challenges of healthy food and beverage changes in community settings, and how opinions changed during the trial.


What did we find? Aquapulse (pool and gym)

  • RED drinks dropped from 40% to 27% of available drinks
  • 37% decrease in sales of cold RED drink sales
  • 26% increase in cold GREEN drink sales
  • 3000L less RED drinks sold each year
  • No overall change in drinks revenue


What did we find? Eagle Stadium

  • RED drinks dropped from 53% to 31% of available drinks
  • No change in cold RED drink sales overall, due to increases in RED sports drinks sales.
  • No change in cold GREEN or AMBER drink sales
  • No overall change in drinks revenue


Council and café staff interviews

Stakeholders were generally in support of improving the healthiness of centre food and drink offerings.

"We’re particularly keen to learn more about how that’s working and adopt more strategies and more ways of doing business so we can sell more of those GREEN items and moderate amounts of the AMBER and less of the RED."
(Stakeholder 3, pre- implementation)

"We’re all about being fit and healthy so obviously exercise is a key component but also nutrition so the two go hand in hand in that respect."
(Stakeholder 1, pre- implementation)


The sites used a smoothie naming competition to tell customers about the healthy changes they were making.

"[The dietitian]’s been a good sounding board and also sourcing suppliers … and samples."
(Stakeholder 1, pre- implementation)


Stakeholders considered the trial a success.

"Sales are on par, or if not better, than the milk shakes."
(Stakeholder 1, post- implementation)

"The smoothies have been going really well. Initially at the basketball stadium there was a bit of resistance and there was maybe in the first two weeks a fair bit of feedback asking for the milkshakes back but that’s since died off."
(Stakeholder 3, post-implementation)


What did we learn?

  1. Start with the easy wins
  2. Engage customers through social media
  3. Use support of dietitians or Healthy Eating Advisory Service to help find alternatives and with recipe changes
  4. Appoint a champion to be responsible for changes
  5. Monitor and adapt as you go
  6. Build on successes over time


Feeling inspired? Start here:

For more information on how to make a healthy change in your organisation contact the Healthy Eating Advisory Service.



This program was supported by the Victorian Government, Melton City Council, Wyndham City Council and Deakin University (CRICOS Provider Code: 00113B).