What is Healthier Options?
The Healthier Options Award is a local initiative to support small and medium-sized food outlets in Cambridgeshire, UK, to make healthier changes to their menu and food preparation.
It is free to join and is open to takeaways and food outlets in Cambridgeshire with a food hygiene rating of three or above. We work with takeaways, resturants, sandwich & coffee shops, mobile traders, lesiure centres and more!
Why Healthier Options?
More than 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 5 children eat from food outlets at least once a week. When you do not prepare food yourself it is difficult to know what is in it and therefore take control of what you are eating and drinking. Out of home meals can often by high in sugar, saturated fat and salt and be larger portion sizes.
Healthier Options provides an opportunity for smaller food outlets in Cambridgeshire to make healthier changes to their menus and food preparation, to offer their customers a healthier choice. Many large food companies and chain restaurants have had this chance with the Public Health Responsibility Deal.
What are the benefits?
It is rather simple to think of some of the benefits to the customer – including the peace of mind knowing that you can make healthier options in a member’s establishment, and that by making small but healthy changes to what you eat and drink it all adds up to longer-term health and wellbeing.
There are also a lot of benefits to the business: changes often result in cost savings, increased customer traffic, positive marketing and promotions (and membership is FREE). Below is a link to a spread from Cambridge News from 21 September 2015, when Charlie’s Coffee Company became the first member to sign up to Healthier Options and benefit from the positive exposure.
Watch the video below by Cambridge TV about how Charlie’s Coffee Company became the first Healthier Options member, and in which Sarah Stevenson, Health Improvement Specialist – Nutrition, Public Health Directorate, Cambridgeshire County Council, explains more about the initiative.
How does it work?
Local takeaways and food outlets, with a food hygiene rating of three or above, will be supported by the Healthier Options team to become a member in 3 FREE easy steps.
Businesses are supported to make a Healthier Options pledge. Where businesses are already making and promoting healthier changes this may contribute towards a pledge. This might include;
- Reducing sugar, fat and salt content on the menu and in food preparation,
- Reducing portion sizes,
- Increasing the availability of fruit and vegetables,
- Promoting and making healthier choices easier for customers.
(See our Tips page for more ideas on small changes you could make, or why not suggest your own).
Who are we?
Healthier Options is a collaborative initiative between Cambridgeshire County Council – Public Health, Cambridge City Council, East Cambridgeshire District Council, Fenland District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council.
We also work in partnership with other local organisations, such as Cambridge Sustainable Food. Healthier Options forms part of their Business Pledge and Award Scheme in Cambridge.
Other Local Authorities have recently aquired the Healthier Options licence for their area, so awards could be coming to a place near you soon! Watch this space.
The Healthier Options pilot programme (July 2015 - March 2016) was independently evaluated by the University of Hertfordshire. All of the Healthier Options Members who kindly participated in the evaluation would recommend the initiative to other businesses!
Making small changes can have great gains over the longer term - both for businesses and their customers