Healthy eating at Capital Health takes a leap with new Zing! stations

Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 1:19pm

It's hard to miss the distinctive plastic footprints leading to the cafeterias at the Halifax Infirmary and VG sites of the QEII. They lead to Zing! fruit and vegetable bars, which opened in June 2013 thanks to a grant from the Nova Scotia government. 
 
This project received a $15,000 Thrive! grant in early 2013. In June 2012 the Thrive! program was launched by the government to help make it easier for Nova Scotians to be healthier with a focus on healthy eating and physical activity. 
 
Capital Health wanted to increase the uptake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables by 20 per cent. In less than a year, sales have surpassed that and are now at 28 per cent. The grant money was used to create innovative and exciting menu offerings, education and promotion. The areas also received a branding makeover using bright colourful marketing to attract customers.
 
The introduction of smoothies developed by Chef Shawn Dwyer has especially taken off with sales of over 100 sold per day, with the “Green Monster” being the most popular. To ensure success of new healthy menu items free samples were provided before and after product launch along with surveys to learn how to improve upon products and to learn what customers want. Other projects included the strawberry, blueberry and autumn festivals to promote consumption of fruits and vegetables during local harvest season.
 
Partnerships in this venture included:
  • Morrison Healthcare service who provided menu recipe details and dietitian support.
  • Haystacks Media Production limited who provided marketing creative and print material for promoting items.
  • Retail Foodservice department provided operational support, logistics set up, employee training.
This project is another step in Capital Health’s current journey to providing healthy food only within its facilities. In 2009 we established a strategic direction and plan and began to develop new menu items, remove unhealthy menu items, educate and promote healthier diets and eating in general.