The Mecklenburg County Health Department participated in a Healthy Snack and Fruit Basket program to improve employee access to healthy snacks and fresh fruit during the workday. It was an incredible success, employee feedback was very positive.
Here is a step by step guide on how to run a successful program. Here is what we learned and some suggestions to make the process as simple as possible.
Step One: Find Employee Advocate to Take on the Project
This project will require about 2 hours of work time during the week, less than one hour of shopping per week.
Step Two: Receive Start Up Funding
Company can fund start up fees of about $50 to purchase initial snacks and produce.
Step Three: Advertise and Promote
We created a flyer to help with advertising. Send out e-mails to department heads or each employee individually. We found that taking the baskets around the first few weeks to show employees what was available and inform them of where they are located was very helpful.
Step Four: Determine a Shopping List
Find out if your favorite snack will qualify for the healthy snack baskets, with the Healthy Snack Checker.
Step Five: Handling the Money
Money was received on a donation only basis. Items were sold at cost, rounded up to the nearest quarter. A spreadsheet was created to track items purchased and income/expenses. A list of prices can be created and placed in the basket. At the end of the month you may have made a profit since the items have been rounded up. You may want to reimburse some of the start up costs or pass on the savings with a 5 cent Friday or Free Fruit Friday.
We sold significantly more items on the days we took baskets to employee work areas. You may want to find employee advocates in different work areas to pick up the baskets and take them into locations where employees stay at their desks all day.
Apples were much less popular than bananas. We avoided oranges due to the mess they create at workstations and fresh pears and peaches have such a short shelf life once ripened we didn't offer those. Fruit cups were a great alternative to fresh items, we provided free spoons and napkins.
Stock up on sale items! If you find an item on sale (excluding fresh fruit) purchase extras and pass on the savings, everyone loves a sale.
Offer a "Feature Item" each week. Encourage employees to try something new by offering feature items, this can be used to test the popularity of a product and determine if it should be added to the list of snack items.