Local sports clubs play a big role in the health and wellbeing of communities. They are the places children and young people spend their time being active. It makes sense to provide healthy options to fuel kids' activity.

It’s often thought that introducing healthier items will affect your canteen’s bottom line. But we are here to tell you this is not the case! With a bit of creative marketing and savvy shopping, incorporating healthy food and drink options into your canteen can make financial sense.

The evidence

The results are in. Healthy foods and drinks in canteens make no difference to overall profitability. Take a look at the examples below. 

VicHealth Water in Sport initiative 

No overall change to drinks revenue following promotion of water and healthier drinks along with the reduction of sugary drinks.

Western Leisure Services

No clear change to profit and loss after introducing healthy changes to their canteens by following the Healthy Choices guidelines.

YMCA Victoria

Soft drink free summer campaign showed no overall change in beverage dollar sales after removing soft drinks.

Tips for success

Here are 5 tips to make your healthy canteen a profitable canteen.

1. Make healthier items your new best sellers

  • Highlight your healthier items by adding them to the front counter, near the register or at eye level in your fridges so they’re the centre of attention.
  • Make sure your healthier foods and drinks look fresh, colourful and varied.
  • Get creative! Why not give your items catchy names and make them a talking point. 

2. Healthy doesn’t have to mean more expensive

  • Consider adding a smaller mark up on some of your healthier items and a higher mark-up on the less healthy items.
  • Price healthy items competitively so they are an affordable alternative.
  • Offer a variety of price points to appeal to different budgets.

3. Be a savvy shopper

  • Buy in bulk and consider forming a canteen buyers’ group, to share the cost of bulk purchases.
  • Look for specials and items in season.
  • Keep track of food waste and use overripe fruit and veggies in delicious recipes.
  • Buy canned or frozen fruit and veggies – they are just as nutritious!

4. Get creative with promotion and advertising

  • Use social media, newsletters, announcements, posters and signage to generate interest.
  • Offer taste-tests, specials and meal deals – salad roll and sparkling water anyone?

5. Involve your customers

  • Want to know how you’re tracking? Then ask the people who use your canteen for ideas. Meeting their needs is key to repeat business for your canteen.

For more great ideas, check out our ‘maintaining a healthy AND profitable canteen’ resource by visiting the Vic Kids Eat Well resources page.

Vic Kids Eat Well can support you in promoting healthier food and drink choices in your facilities. Why not join the Vic Kids Eat Well movement? You’ll be connected with a health promotion professional who will support you in creating a healthier food and drink environment for the kids and families at your sports club or facility.

So why wait? Join Vic Kids Eat Well today!