Impact of increasing the proportion of healthier foods available on energy purchased in worksite cafeterias: A stepped wedge randomized controlled pilot trial.
Pechey R., Cartwright E., Pilling M., Hollands GJ., Vasiljevic M., Jebb SA., Marteau TM.
Increasing the proportion of healthier foods available could encourage healthier consumption, but evidence to date is limited in scope and quality. The current study aimed to: (a) examine the feasibility and acceptability of intervening to change product availability in worksite cafeterias; and (b) estimate the impact on energy purchased of increasing the proportion of healthier (i.e. lower energy) cooked meals, snacks, cold drinks and sandwiches. Six English worksite cafeterias increased the proportion of healthier foods available, aiming to keep the total number of options constant, in a stepped wedge randomized controlled pilot trial conducted between January and May 2017. The intervention was generally successfully implemented and acceptable to clientele. Generalized linear mixed models showed a reduction of 6.9% (95%CI: -11.7%, -1.7%, p = 0.044) in energy (kcal) purchased from targeted food categories across all sites. However, impact varied across sites, with energy purchased from targeted categories significantly reduced in two sites (-10.7% (95%CI: -18.1% to -2.6%, p = 0.046); -18.4% (95%CI: -26.9% to -8.8%, p = 0.013)), while no significant differences were seen in the other four sites. Overall, increasing the proportion of healthier options available in worksite cafeterias seems a promising intervention to reduce energy purchased but contextual effects merit further study.