Strategize and Act
Once you have built your foundation, you can decide which strategies you will use to implement food service guidelines and then act upon the strategies you choose. Strategies include:
- Putting food service guideline standards in organizational policies, requests for funding proposals, or vendor contracts. See sample language.
- Applying behavioral design strategies to encourage selection of healthier foods.
- Working with vendors to procure healthier food offerings, modify menus and recipes, and train staff.
- Collaborating with worksite wellness staff to champion food service guidelines.
- Incentivizing food service guidelines using recognition programs.
As you conduct your strategies, remember that communication with all parties such as leaders, partners, vendors, and consumers is important for success of your food service guidelines initiative. You can use traditional communication channels — newsletters, social media, webinars, meetings, fact sheets, and more. These channels will help get your messages to various audiences and obtain their buy-in. For example:
- Many consumers are interested in supporting local agriculture. To inform consumers, you can encourage vendors to use (or supply them with) signage or displays that can be placed in cafeterias to communicate which menu offerings contain locally grown food items. This can facilitate purchase of those items.
- Many vendors are willing to implement food service guidelines but are concerned that they could potentially lose sales. To alleviate their concerns, you can supply them with success stories of how profits were maintained or increased after healthier food and beverage items were offered.
- Some organizations are working independently to ensure that consumers have access to healthier foods and beverages. You can meet with these organizations to describe how working collaboratively and pooling resources can have a greater impact than working separately. Memorandums of Understanding help clearly communicate roles and responsibilities by you and the partner organization.
The Vendors Training Guide Tool from the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists helps public health professionals communicate and work with vendors who are blind. This tool includes information on marketing trends, barriers, beneficial training topics, steps for implementation, and more.
Making Health Communication Programs Work provides steps for planning and implementing a communication program, regardless of the topic, audience, size and budget.