2016 Edith Cowan University food and beverage audits

Introduction: The food environment is a determinant of dietary intake for both staff and students at Edith Cowan University (ECU). Purpose: This study aims to describe (1) the proportion of food and beverages classified as red, amber and green in accordance with the Healthier Food and Drink Guide, part of a Western Australian workplace initiative, across all ECU outlets; (2) cafe owner/manager perceptions towards increasing the proportion of green items. Methods: Outlets across three ECU campuses were audited via visual analysis from point of sale and all items were recorded and classified as red, green or amber, according to criteria outline in the Healthier Food and Drink Guide. Proportions of each category were calculated. Interviews were conducted with 8 owners/managers to determine perceptions towards increasing the proportion of green classified choices in their outlets. Findings: Of the 8 outlets audited; average 9% green items (recommended minimum 40%); 65% red items (recommended maximum 30%). During interviews (n=6), 5 had heard of the guide although 4 didn’t use the guide for anything and only 1 participant correctly categorised 5 selected items. Half the participants identified customer feedback as the primary motivation for food and beverage selection; none perceived nutritional content as the primary reason for choosing the cafe. All Owner/Managers wanted to increase proportion green items and 4 requested University support for healthy options.
Possible future interventions may need to target consumer attitudes towards purchasing healthier options. An incentive program, such as a star-rating system, is being considered to promote healthier options for campus consumers.

Key words:
health, nutrition, advocacy, evaluation, social determinants of health
Key messages
  1. 1. The nutritional quality of food and beverages available on ECU campuses does not meet the recommended proportions of red, amber and green classifications according to the Healthier Food and Drink Guide
  2. 2. Most cafe owner/managers are unable to effectively use the Healthier Food and Drink guide to classify food and beverages
  3. 3. All cafe owner/managers would like to increase the proportion of healthy options in the future

Jessica Howard

Edith Cowan University

After 5 years of hospitality management, I decided to follow my passion and enrolled in a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional Bioscience) at ECU with the intention of following on to complete a Masters of Nutrition and Dietetics. During this time I have completed an internship at the Patricia Giles Center developing and running nutrition education programs for babies, toddlers and primary school aged children in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous families. I have also volunteered in the School of Medical and Health Sciences at ECU on the University Campus Healthier Food and Beverage Project more information can be found on the following link https://www.ecu.edu.au/schools/medical-and-health-sciences/our-research/systems-and-intervention-research-centre-for-health/projects/university-campus-healthy-food-and-beverage-project. I am now in my final semester of my undergraduate degree and am looking forward to embarking on an exciting career in health.