Introducing our Deakin Food Charter

This week, 15-21 October, is National Nutrition Week, and also the Deakin Food Charter’s second birthday!

What is the Deakin Food Charter?

If you haven’t heard of the Food Charter, it’s a unique approach to designing the food we provide on campus. It aims to encourage healthier choices across a large, complex and varied population. It was designed and launched two years ago following feedback from students and staff. There are five pillars to guide the menus and experience in our campus cafes:

  1. healthy
  2. informed
  3. balanced
  4. easy and
  5. sustainable

Check out this short video to find out what the Food Charter aims to do.

Why was it introduced?

At Deakin, there’s lots of leading research in the public health and nutrition space. As a result, we know that unhealthy food environments can contribute to unhealthy diets and obesity. With this expertise there was an obvious appetite for the University to provide healthier options, as well as educate students and staff on their food choices. Ultimately, we needed to practice what we preached.

What has changed?

We have provided green, amber and red traffic light classification labels in cafes and vending machines to help inform decision-making around food choices. The classifications are based on the Victorian Government’s Healthy Choices guidelines, with green foods the healthiest option, amber foods okay to eat in moderation, and red foods consumed on rare occasions.

Plus, in an exciting recent initiative, all campus vending machines now offer at least 50% green items and less than 20% red items. This is a huge step for Deakin University and in the first year it has resulted in a reduction of 1.3 tonnes of sugar consumed through beverages alone (despite sales increasing).

How was it implemented?

Something like this sounds simple but it’s not as easy to implement as it might seem; in fact, the project demonstrates how complex food environments can be. The move has come as a result of negotiating a new vending contract, designing and re-designing countless ‘planograms’ or product displays, determining the best locations to place vending machines, sourcing a wide and interesting range of food and beverage items, and analysing the nutritional content of every single one. And that’s just the planning phase!

What’s next?

There are other examples of positive changes – such as our kitchen composting scheme and food outlet recipe updates – but there’s still lots of work left to do to truly bring the Food Charter to life. It’s encouraging to see that Deakin and our food outlets have embraced the work and realised the benefits it can enable, and the Food Charter team can’t wait to keep improving the way we do food at Deakin.

Head to food charter to learn more.

To celebrate National Nutrition Week and the Food Charter’s birthday, The Common Waterfront, Mr Tod Waurn Ponds, Fusion, FooMoo and Food4Thought all have special offers in store.

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