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FoodWords Draft

Food and Society Workshop, Tahsha LePage, Phoebe Ward, Monica Saralampi, Martha Megarry, Maria Frank, Matt Gunther, Authors

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Price and Label Changes and Purchasing Behavior in a Hospital Cafeteria (summary & metadata)

From the introduction & conclusions:
While a number of informational sources with ideas on how to make a food program more sustainable exist, implementing such changes is more difficult for hospitals. There is a need for more information and assistance on the actual process of implementing sustainable practice, and thus documenting how changes to institutional food systems are implemented will help other hospitals create healthier, more sustainable food systems... Changes in food supply and variety, provision of nutritional information at point of sale, nutrition policies and price incentives are among the interventions that have shown some success. This is the first study to examine the impact of pricing strategies and labeling in a health care setting...
Results from this study indicate that learning what is local, procuring it, preparing it, and the subsequent need to update contractual obligations in response were challenges and also time intensive... Overall, there appears to be substantial price sensitivity for organic, local and healthier food items with stronger quantity changes when food labels are added to the price manipulations. This suggests that food labeling at the point of purchase could be used along with taxes and subsidies to change food purchasing behavior.

Quick Facts:
  • Author: American Public Health Association (APHA), with all funding from HFHL, Univ of Minnesota.
  • Published: Winter 2011
  • Intended audience: the general public, food and health conscious individuals, hospital food consumers
  • Goals / purpose: to investigate whether food selections change based on food prices or point-of-purchase labeling, with focus on organic, local, and/or healthy food
  • Methods - How would someone know they could trust this?
    • Includes 6 three-week periods of varying experimental conditions, beginning and ending with baseline.
  • From 1 (not very well)–4 (very well), how well does this source of food knowledge:
    • Engage an adequate range of perspectives and types of knowledge? (2)
    • Translate between diverse perspectives? (1)
    • Address conflicts across perspectives? (2)
    • Generate useful information for those affected by the issues addressed? (3)
    • Include an adequate range of relevant stakeholders throughout the knowledge-creation process? (3)
    • Help users of this knowledge source learn from each other? (2)
    • Allow users of this knowledge source to put what they learn into action? (3)
    • Consider the larger context as necessary? (2)
  • What is useful, meaningful, surprising, or a problem? Questions?
    • The narrow focus of the study is very problematic. Research numbers
      included data from only one hospital. The 74% increase in organic vs.
      regular sales when the organic price was dropped was surprising.
  • What do you think could or should be done with this source of knowledge?
    • To deal with the small sample size, the study could be expanded and
      conducted at other hospitals around the region and the country. Or
      further studies involving cafeterias at different institutions/business
      types would help.
  • What has already been done?
  • How should we keep track of what this knowledge does as it circulates in the world?
  • What connections would you like to see made to other information / people / organizations?

See for this and other resources from HFHL.

(ID# 2003)
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