Policy directive drinks targets - assessing and reporting

Key topics on this page:

  1. FoodChecker - conducting your assessments
  2. Reporting to the Department of Health
  3. Support in assessing your food and drinks
  4. Key dates


Video above: Understanding the drinks targets


The first of the Victorian Government’s Healthy choices: policy directive targets are for drinks. The targets include:

  1. Vending and in-house retail* food outlets: No RED drinks to be available or promoted/advertised. At least 50% GREEN drinks, and no more than 20% drinks containing artificial or intense sweeteners (classified AMBER) are available.  
  2. Catering: No RED drinks are provided (with majority of options to be GREEN). 

*You may choose to assess externally managed retail food outlets against the Policy directive. While we encourage such assessments (which will help you meet the Cancer Plan 2020-24 target1), reporting on externally operated outlets is optional.

The Policy directive applies to all sites and facilities across public health services including, but not limited to:

  • hospitals
  • public sector residential aged care services (PSRACS)
  • integrated community health services

The Policy directive applies to the following food services within public health services: 

  • in-house managed retail food outlets, including items purchased by staff and visitors from patient/resident menus
  • all vending machines (managed in-house and privately)
  • all catering* provided to visitors and staff

* Catering applies to staff procuring food and drinks with health service (government funds) for meetings, functions, and events. This includes occasions such as workshops, conferences, community events, launches, celebrations and ceremonies, as well as client or community education, information, or training programs. It also includes food/drinks provided (free) on the ward or in staff rooms/waiting rooms for staff/visitors (e.g. tea/coffee, water, fruit, biscuits, lollies). Whilst not included in the Policy directive, health services are encouraged to promote and communicate their healthy catering policy to any external groups using their facilities, for example community support groups.

FoodChecker – conducting your assessments

As part of reporting all public health services will use FoodChecker to assess drinks provided via internally managed food retail outlets and all vending machines. A dedicated Policy directive assessment function has been created in FoodChecker to assess foods and drinks against the Policy directive targets.

Click here to access FoodChecker.

Key tips

The new FoodChecker Policy directive assessment function allows you to assess your internally managed retail food outlets, vending machines and catering against the Policy directive targets. The assessment will state if you meet each of the following targets individually:

  • Drinks % targets
  • Food % targets
  • No RED drinks promotion
  • No RED food promotion

There will be some additional questions to answer in the reporting function of the Progress Tracker tool (available from 1 September 2022) in addition to your FoodChecker assessment. For example, questions around your organisation’s healthy catering policy. 

You can choose to assess drinks only, foods only, or foods and drinks combined. Only your drinks data will be used in any 2022 report provided to the Department of Health (even if you have assessed food too).
Only the Food Checker assessment you choose to submit is visible to the Department of Health
You can do as many assessments as you want, at any time. For the 2022 report, complete at least one assessment for each in-house managed retail food service and one assessment per vending machine layout.
You only need one assessment per vending machine layout. (i.e., if you have three vending machines with identical layouts [when fully stocked] you only need one assessment for that layout, not three different assessments).
Assess vending machines when they are fully stocked. Do not assess the planogram provided by your supplier as it can be different to what is actually in the machine.
You can search and assess drinks to find out if they contain artificial sweetener.
You should assess staff and event catering in order to plan and implement your healthy catering policy, BUT you will not need to submit catering assessments in the 2022 report. Questions will be asked about your organisation’s healthy catering policy/processes.
You have the choice to do a Policy directive assessment or standard Healthy Choices guidelines assessment in FoodChecker. This is relevant if you have externally managed food retail outlets. If you do assess an externally managed food retail outlet using the Policy directive assessment function, you will not be required to report on this in the 2022 Department of Health report.
You cannot copy previous FoodChecker assessments (completed before 11 April 2022) for your Department of Health reporting. These assessments (using the standard Healthy Choices assessment function) do not assess foods and drinks against the Policy directive targets. Please conduct your Food Checker assessment/s for the Department of Health reporting using the new FoodChecker Policy directive assessment function. 

Reporting to the Department of Health

Progress Tracker, the online reporting tool where each health service will report their progress towards meeting the Policy directive targets is now live. Click here to access.

Please note that only the FoodChecker assessment you choose to submit in this online portal will be visible to the Department of Health.

Not only will the Progress Tracker tool serve as a reporting mechanism to the Department of Health, but it will be a valuable tool for health services to plan, track, communicate and celebrate implementation of Healthy Choices within their individual organisation.

Support in assessing your food and drinks

We are here to support you in assessing your drinks against the Policy directive targets. You can contact one of our dedicated Nutrition Policy Advisors for information and advice specific to your service’s needs.

Brigitte Annois
Nutrition Policy Advisor APD
Ph: 8341 5808
E: bannois@nutritionaustralia.org.au
Hannah O'Connell
Nutrition Policy Advisor
Ph: 8341 5821
E: hoconnell@nutritionaustralia.org.au

In addition, we have compiled the following resources:

  • frequently asked questions about the Policy directive drinks targets, including assessing and reporting requirements - click here.
  • overview of sugary drinks resource - click here
  • healthy vending plan-o-grams in health services resource - click here

Getting ready

Start using FoodChecker to assess your drink provision.


Complete an assessment for each internally managed retail food outlet and each vending machine layout.


Also, don’t forget to implement Healthy Choices for your staff/event catering.


The Healthy choices Policy directive reporting tool, Progress Tracker, is live from 1 September 2022.

Upload the relevant FoodChecker assessment/s to the reporting tool and complete the accompanying questions.


1The Victorian Cancer Plan 2020-2024 target: “at least 80 per cent of hospitals and health services’ retail outlets and vending machines to meet the recommended Victorian Government food and nutrition standards (Healthy choices) by 2024.”


Printer-friendly version