Obesity related illnesses cost the NHS a staggering £6.1 billion per year.
Researchers reported this week that three quarters of food bought in UK hospitals is unhealthy. The data came from an audit focusing on a number of NHS hospitals. The researchers recorded the food and drink for sale in the canteens, cafes, shops (with eating areas) and vending machines. They compared this information with the sales to get an idea of the most popular items. You can read the full article here.
It is not only the hospital food up for criticism. Half of the most popular drinks are also rated as unhealthy. This report showed that only 5 of the top selling 20 products rated as healthy. Examples of the healthy products were bags of grapes and apples. Whereas the junk food included calorie filled pork pies and fizzy drinks with an astounding 65g of sugar. Shockingly, one piece of cake included over a quarter of an average women’s daily calorie requirements. The audit did not advise a ban on junk food in hospitals but it did recommend stricter rules on calories, fat and sugar content.
Hospitals have been under pressure to provide healthy food and drink for sometime. CQUIN guidelines were introduced as a way to regulate the products allowed to be sold, restricting some of the more calorie filled options. NHS England also offer cash incentives for hospitals if 80% of their snacks had fewer than 250 calories. Still, it is not enough. A health care provider is a role model, and many believe they should set the standard.
Some NHS Hospitals have taken on the challenge, working hard to remove fast food restaurants and put pressure on caters and vending facilities to provide healthy products. However, other hospitals are not tackling the issue, leaving thousands of patients, staff and visitors without access to healthy food from their local healthcare provider. Unfortunately, Mars bars, fatty cakes and Walkers crisps are still easy to buy.
The first step to encouraging healthy eating is providing healthy food. Making the healthy option, the easiest option is the a very simple change which could encourage consumers to lead a healthy lifestyle. The most convenient option of them all is healthy vending machines.
Some of our Doozy Healthy Products
Of course, we are well aware of this. Part of the reason we chose to introduce Doozy as a complete healthy vending option was to provide hospitals with an easy way of providing healthy food. Some have welcomed the idea happily. Salisbury District Hospital introduced Doozy back in 2015 and haven’t looked back. In fact, sales went up 90% when we switched the standard vending to our healthy vending solution. Not all hospitals have been as accepting, sometimes choosing the safe bet of traditional vending. But it is true that healthy vending machines provide an opportunity for health care providers to encourage healthy habits amongst NHS staff, patients and visitors.
Providing healthy food and drink does not mean getting rid of all items which don’t fit certain guidelines. But it does mean making healthy products accessible to everyone in the hospital. Particularly staff who work late shifts. For them vending machines are often the only way of getting a refreshment.
A message from Doozy Founder, Tim Varney
“Hospitals are incredibly busy places. Refreshments are of course essential, but mostly what’s available isn’t good for us. If the NHS doesn’t act now, who will? Despite some effort from healthcare providers to serve better options, obesity continues to put a huge strain on our NHS. We can do better. At Doozy we have a truly healthy vending solution that will not only complement and promote a healthier lifestyle but will also increase revenue when compared to traditional vending.”
For more information, have a read of our blog, 10 Stats Which Prove Why You Should be Looking at Healthy Vending for Hospitals