Ottawa Hospital Labelling Study
The Ottawa Hospital was one of the first food outlets in Canada to voluntarily implement mandatory menu labelling. In 2011, The Ottawa Hospital Food and Nutrition Services added information on calories, total fat, saturated fat and sodium on menu boards for the main food items available for sale. this information was added in 2011 at the main “Civic” cafeteria and in 2013 at a second site, the “General” cafeteria. We partnered with the Ottawa Hosptial to evaluate this precedent setting measure in Canada. The study examined how consumers noticed and used nutrition information, as well as the nutritional quality of food consumed when menu labeling was provided on menu boards. A qualitative study also examined stakeholder perspectives of menu labelling.
Using a quasi-experimental design, the study was able to compare the Civic and General campus with and without menu labelling, and also to examine the changes in food behaviours over time at the General campus before and after the program was implemented.
Exit surveys at the cafeteria sites with and without the nutritional labeling program examined food purchased and consumed, noticing of the nutrition labeling, and whether or not labelling helped consumers make healthier food selection choices. The surveys also collected information about participant demographics and nutrition attitudes, beliefs and behaviours, as well as examined public support for menu labelling among this sample of the Canadians.
Read the full paper here→
Qualitative interviews of stakeholder perspectives
Implementing menu labeling in the absence of mandatory regulations represents an important commitment from food service providers, as well as a potential risk. Through a series of semi-structure interviews, this project examined the process of developing, implementing and maintaining a menu labeling program in an Ottawa Hospital cafeteria using qualitative research methodology, data collection and data analysis. The project identified and explored local level factors associated with implementation success from the perspective of hospital staff, executives and cafeteria suppliers. In particular, this project sought to describe some lived experiences from key players involved in implementing an independent menu labeling program, and identify key supports and barriers in this process.