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Scottish Government Health Directorates Chief Scientist Office

Feasibility trial of a Price Incentive Intervention to promote the uptake of healthy eating options in workplace canteens in Scotland


completed at both time points) evaluation of intervention impact.


Post intervention, consumers reported perceived value for money of the targeted foods and improved quality. However, they also expressed dissatisfaction with limited choice and inadequate marketing.

A.S. Anderson1, D. Mackision1, J.Mooney2 1 University of Dundee 2SCPHRP To assess the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a 10-week price incentive intervention to promote healthy eating options in workplace canteens in order to inform the design and implementation of a future Randomised Control Trial.

Project Methodology Workplace canteens with the Healthy Living Award (HLA) or participating in the Healthy Working Lives Programme (HWLP) were approached to take part in the study. The intervention design was informed by interviews with catering staff and focus group discussions with consumers. Assessments included observations of intervention implementation, measures of intervention uptake (till receipts) and individual level measures of food habits using online pre- and post-intervention questionnaires. Post intervention qualitative measures of consumer acceptability and caterers perspective of the intervention were also undertaken.



Caterers indicated that considerable support was required initially to implement the intervention although both sites reported an intention to continue the intervention after the project ended.


Key Results

A price incentivised healthy eating intervention designed in collaboration with caterers and consumers was feasible to implement in two worksite canteens and merits further investigation. Key challenges included recruitment and retention of worksites and the amount of support required by caterers. Uptake of individual targeted foods was good. The current quantitative evaluation procedures were not feasible for survey use and further work is required to improve dietary intake tools

Three (of a possible 13) worksites initiated and two completed the intervention study.

What does this study add to the field?

Pre-intervention findings indicated that price, product quality and quick service were considered fundamental to the intervention design. Of various price incentives discussed consumers and caterers agreed a preference for a combination deal of soup and sandwich/salad with a nutrient composition consistent with the Food Standards Agency traffic lights guidance at a 10-20% original price reduction and an on-site marketing programme (EatSMART). Till data indicated that the uptake of promoted items varied by week (range 60 to 187 items) and by site but at all points there was greater uptake of intervention soup (range 44 to 138 items) than the price incentivised intervention meal deal (range 4 to 31) suggesting that consumers may have been more influenced by the choice of new menu items than the price incentivised “meal deal� option. The response rate for both pre and post questionnaires was poor (2.9% and 1.6% of workforce at site A and 15% and 9.6% of workforce at site B of which 22 (17%)

An intervention which combines increased availability of healthy options, prices incentives and marketing can be delivered by worksite caterers and provides a platform for improving diet in working adults

Implications for Practice or Policy

The current study demonstrates that the catering sector is willing to test new approaches to healthy eating with the potential for significant health benefits in the working population if the current work can be implemented and expanded.

Where to next? Further research is needed to recruit caterers, increase access to healthy options and develop comprehensive price incentives and marketing inorder to implement and evaluate large scale worksite interventions. Further work on objective data collection tools are also required.

Further details from: Professor Annie (



Chief Scientist Office, St Andrews House, Regent Road, Edinburgh, EH1 3DG Tel:0131 244 2248

Price Incentive Intervention to promote the uptake of healthy eating options in workplace canteens  

Feasibility trial of a Price Incentive Intervention to promote the uptake of healthy eating options in workplace canteens in Scotland