Posted 08/09/21 1 mins read

Reducing sugary drinks and unhealthy foods equals reduced profit? No!

Store front of a kiosk

Do you associate reducing the amount of sugary drinks, confectionary and salty snacks in your food service with a reduction in profit? Evidence gathered from sport and recreation facilities who have trialled such initiatives suggest this is not the case!

The following examples were conducted across various Victorian community focused facilities:

Example one: Water in Sport project

VicHealth, HEAS and Deakin University worked with eight local councils to increase the promotion of water and reduce the supply of sugary drinks in community sports and recreation facilities.

What did they do?

  1. Limited the display of unhealthy drinks to less than 20% of display space OR
  2. Removed unhealthy drinks from display altogether whilst increasing display of healthier drinks

What was the outcome?

  1. 9 out of 10 sport and recreation facilities reported no change in drinks revenue
  2. 8 seasonal facilities (such as outdoor pools) reported no change in drinks revenue

Read more about the Water in Sport project here: Removing sugary drinks from council facilities

Example two: Western Leisure Services


Western Leisure Services progressively implemented the Healthy Choices guidelines in two community leisure facilities in the City of Wyndham.

What did they do?

  1. Reduced RED (Limit) foods by 63%
  2. Increased GREEN (Best choice) foods by 163%
  3. Increased the prices of RED foods
  4. Reduced the prices of GREEN foods

What was the outcome?

Both facilities are now compliant with the Healthy Choices guidelines, providing at least 50% GREEN foods and drinks, and no more than 20% RED options. In addition:

  1. There was no change in profit
  2. 90% of customers supported the change
  3. Sales of RED foods dropped by 17%
  4. Sales of GREEN foods increased by 22 %

Read more about Western Leisure Services here: Western Leisure Services | Healthy Eating Advisory Service

Example three: Alfred Health sugary drinks trials

Alfred Health undertook some trials with their food retailers, in partnership with Deakin University, Monash University, VicHealth and the Behavioural Insights Team (UK).

They implemented four trials to see how changing the way packaged drinks were displayed and/or priced could influence customers’ purchasing habits.

What did they do?

  1. Removed RED drinks from display at the main full-service cafe
  2. Removed RED drinks from self-service refrigerators at another onsite café
  3. Increased the price of RED drinks by 20% at the onsite convenience store
  4. Increased the price of RED drinks by 20% in vending machines

What was the outcome?

  1. No significant difference in total drink sales
  2. 36,500 fewer RED drinks were sold at Alfred Health

Read more about the Alfred Health sugary drinks trials here: Alfred Health sugary drink trials | Healthy Eating Advisory Service

Reducing sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks (as seen by these examples) does not mean reduced profit. Outcomes for your bottom line can remain at current profit levels while supporting your community to be happier and healthier!

We’re here to help your sport and recreation facility make healthy changes to the foods and drinks you provide. HEAS offers free, tailored support including resources for getting started, expert advice and access to FoodChecker (our Australian first menu assessment tool).

If you’d like to get started contact us today – we’d love to help!

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