Alfred Health case study
Alfred Health is a leader in health care delivery, with three hospitals in the inner south east suburbs of Melbourne. Recognising the importance of not only treating illness, but promoting health as well, in 2011 Alfred Health embarked on a project to improve the availability and promotion of healthier food and drinks offered at each of their three sites – The Alfred, Caulfield Hospital and Sandringham Hospital.
Alfred Health implemented the Healthy choices: food and drink guidelines for Victorian public hospitals. This meant making changes to the food and drinks available on its premises through vending machines, food courts and cafes to provide healthier choices and more nutritional information and reduce unhealthy options for its staff and visitors.
The project focused on a number of key areas
Retail food outlets
Food and drink outlets are often the first thing you see when you walk into a hospital, making them a great place to promote healthy eating.
Healthy Choices was implemented in the retail food outlets in all three of the Alfred Health sites. Alf’s Cafe is one of these outlets, based in the Alfred hospital, Prahran.
Alf’s Cafe, their largest retail food outlet, serves more than 5,000 items every day to staff and visitors, from its range of hot meals, salads, sandwiches, juice bar, cafe and catering menu.
It underwent a comprehensive review of its recipes, suppliers and processes, as well as the placement and display of food and drink items, to provide a greater range of healthy and tasty options.
In early 2015, Alfred Health released the A green light for healthy consumption infographic tracing the implementation of the Healthy Choices guidelines in Alf's Cafe. It demonstrates the positive impact that can be achieved on customer behaviour without having an adverse effect on sales.
When the vending machine contract was up for tender in 2012, Alfred Health used the opportunity to update the terms of the agreement, and include a mandatory clause about healthy foods and drinks.
The company that won the tender has since been supplying the required percentage of GREEN, AMBER and RED vending items according to the Healthy Choices guidelines. The vending machines were repositioned within all three hospitals to promote the healthier options.
Although it’s not currently a mandatory component of the Healthy Choices guidelines, Alfred Health introduced a policy that all internal catering must provide only GREEN and AMBER items. With this one action, Alfred Health is helping to create a health-promoting workplace for its staff, and ensure that staff and guests have healthy options available.
A team effort
To ensure smooth implementation and effective change management, a number of key staff were involved in the project.