An end in sight for price promotions in hospitals
Hospitals are setting an example and banning price promotions on sugary drinks and junk food, replacing them with promotions on healthier alternatives.
From April 2016, NHS organisations are being funded to improve staff’s health and wellbeing, including banning price promotions of sugary drinks and junk food. Examples include discounted price, multi-buy, free item provided with a purchase, price pack or bonus price deal or meal deals.
Many hospitals are going beyond, putting in place promotions on healthier alternatives. Chase Farm Hospital (run by the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust) operates a 10% staff discount on healthier food items only, making sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar and salt relatively more expensive. Great Ormond Street Hospital banned sugary drinks and bars of chocolate from the main restaurant and cafe areas and started selling all fresh fruit at cost plus VAT with only a 5% margin to encourage take up of fresh fruit as a popular desert and snack option.
Other examples of popular promotions in hospitals are:
- Making no-added sugar drinks cheaper than sugary drinks;
- Making fresh fruit cheaper than hot or cold deserts;
- Making a healthy meal the cheapest main course on the menu;
- Having special deals and price promotions on healthy meal deals (e.g. fruit rather than confectionery, and water rather than sugary drinks in discounted meal deals);
- Having drinking water available and visible to staff and visitors near main staff restaurant(s).
Among other initiatives, the new CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) from April 2016 supports staff to make healthy food choices by banning price promotions, advertisements and presence at checkouts of sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar and salt. It also requires staff on night shifts to have healthy food options available.