Hospitals are where you go to get healthy, right? Well, when it comes to the food choices available to employees and visitors, not so much. Hospital cafeterias across the country are known for being a little too… cafeteria-y… in their food selection and its healthfulness. Typically, these cafeterias are managed almost entirely independently of the hospital, making them essentially giant restaurants (case in point: the Maine Medical Center cafeteria is technically the largest restaurant in Portland) that are often operating independently of the hospital’s health standards.
However, major progress is being made. Hospital cafeterias have begun adding healthier food options and in 2013, MaineHealth made this issue a priority when it became a part of the nationwide Healthy Hospitals Food Initiative, which set guidelines for healthy meals, calorie labeling, and product placement. As part of this effort, MaineHealth brought in Perch to establish a “healthy choices” campaign and a system of labels that could accommodate the wide variety of scales and needs of MaineHealth’s partner hospitals.
The resultant Check Plus campaign was rolled out in 10 hospital cafeterias across the state after an extensive beta testing phase in Portland. It aims to showcase the healthy options within each cafeteria (more added every day!) through a clearly identifiable visual system, while simultaneously promoting healthy eating choices. The campaign was wrapped up into a coherent kit of parts that included a rollout guide for food service directors and local marketing teams.
The Check Plus system was designed to visually represent which food options met the Hospital Healthy Food Initiative requirements within the cafeteria. Consumers are able to quickly identify—by the placement and color of the Check Plus icons—which options are the healthiest. By simply marking the healthy options, we removed the clutter of messaging and the confusing decision making process for customers. The emphasis is simply on choosing the healthy option.