Healthy Food Purchasing
When cities have healthy food available on public property, we all have more opportunity to choose what’s best for our bodies. Cities that prioritize health in their food purchases make sure everyone has access to healthy choices in public places where we work, play, and learn — from municipal offices to public gyms to daycare facilities. It can also help cities save millions of dollars in preventable health care costs.
The Healthy Food Challenge
- Millions of Americans struggle to eat healthfully, putting themselves at higher risk for unhealthy weight gain and diet-related diseases that diminish quality of life and drive-up health care costs.
- A healthy diet is out of reach for many of us, and access to healthy foods within cities varies widely. Latino neighborhoods have one-third the supermarkets as other neighborhoods, and studies have shown that Black neighborhoods also have limited access to grocery stores.
- Cities hold significant purchasing power that could be better leveraged to support healthy eating. Public facilities (including worksites, parks, and hospitals) often make food available for purchase through cafeterias, concessions, or vending machines. City agencies also purchase and serve food for meetings and events, afterschool programs, senior centers, and correctional facilities.
A Healthy Solution: Healthy Food Purchasing
- Leverage Purchasing Power — City procurement policies are an effective tool to make healthy eating easier because local governments are often among the largest employers and food purchasers in a community and can ensure thousands of people have access to healthy choices every day.
- Meets Residents Where They Are — Local procurement can provide healthy choices for residents in a variety of locations — at work in government offices, at play in parks and recreational centers, and within local settings, such as schools and daycare facilities.
- Provides Residents a Choice — When people have the opportunity to choose what’s best for their bodies, most do. In Chicago, when healthy food options were introduced to vending machines in city parks, the machines’ daily sales increased from $84 to $371.
The state of healthy food purchasing policies in big US cities
Twenty-three out of 75 cities received a medal for healthy food purchasing policies, including two golds, two silver, and 19 bronze.
Measuring cities’ Healthy Food Purchasing policies
|How will we award healthy food purchasing medals?||Bronze Medal||Silver Medal||Gold Medal|
|City has a procurement policy mandating nutrition standards.|
|City procurement policy applies to one or more venues where food is sold or served on city property or by a city agency or city contractor. The policy may apply only to vending machines.|
|City has a procurement policy mandating nutrition standards at least as strong as the Foodservice Guidelines for Federal Facilities.|
|City procurement policy applies to EITHER:
• All venues where food is sold on city property
• All venues where food is purchased with city funds and/or served by city agencies, contractors, or subcontractors.
|City has a procurement policy mandating nutrition standards at least as strong as the Foodservice Guidelines for Federal Facilities (innovative level).|
|City procurement policy applies to all venues where food is sold or served on city property or by city agencies, contractors, or subcontractors, or purchased with city funds.|
- Prior dated contracts
- Contracts under a certain threshold amount ($10,000)
- Public concessions providing food for sale through leases