Integrated Healthy Eating Effort at Eastman

Integrated Healthy Eating Effort at Eastman

Southern FS Manager Darlene Sampson displays some of her healthy options.

Tina Ward of Arby's with some of the chain's salad choices.

Eastman Chemical Co. in Kingsport, TN, recently rolled out a comprehensive healthy eating program called "Eating Healthy @ Eastman, It's Your Choice." The program is a cooperative effort among the Virtual Food Court team (Eastman's outsource dining services providers, including both branded concepts like Arby's and Subway and contractors like Southern Foodservice), Eastman Integrated Health (the benefits group), Eastman Health & Wellness (the in-house wellness program/fitness centers) and Eastman Medical.

The effort came as a result of a company directive to align food court operations with Eastman's health initiatives in order to create a coordinated, comprehensive program that would make it easy for employees to make healthy food choices while keeping vendors financially viable.

The food vendors had already been coordinating with the Health & Wellness group back in 2004 on developing the Healthy Eating @ Eastman logo, employee surveys on healthy eating habits and knowledge, coordinated promotional efforts and the exchange of nutritional info on food court menu choices.

Last December, the inter-department team met and decided to focus efforts on an educational campaign to make employees more aware of healthy food choices and assist them in making those kinds of choices. The focus was to be placed on initiatives that could be accomplished immediately without incurring much cost and without impacting subsidies or commissions.

These meetings and subsequent audits found that the food vendors were doing very little to promote their healthier food choices even though each outlet had at least some healthier options. As a result the team decided on two strategies. One was to set up nutritional guidelines and mark food choices meeting those guidelines with the already familiar apple logo on menu boards. It also led to the development of a booklet (also called Healthy Eating @ Eastman) that provides a comprehensive guide for employees on how to eat healthy while at work. In includes information on basics like portion size and building a balanced daily diet, to practical information on the choices available at the various onsite dining locations (including vending, catering and even night shift eating).

Food choices at the dining locations were largely retained while a healthier product mix was piloted in the vending program (run by Five Star Food Service).

The program rolled out on August 1, timed to coordinate with an emphasis on how lifestyle choices can impact health insurance costs.

"We are all on the same page, heading the same direction, with the same message," says Advanced Employee Services Coordinator Jean Petke. "This is an ongoing program so I expect it will continue to develop and expand as we go forward. The rollout was very successful and has been well received by employees and customers and well supported by the food court managers. So, it has been a win-win for everyone involved."