What is it?
The Healthy Options Award has been developed to reward caterers throughout Wales who make it easier for their customers to make healthy choices when eating out. It has three levels - Bronze, Silver and Gold, and is symbolised by the apple logo with heart shaped pips.
Who runs the award?
The award scheme and assessment process are administered jointly through a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council and the Hywel Dda Health Board.
What are the aims?
The Award aims to encourage food businesses to provide healthier options to customers, through the use of healthier catering practices, increasing fruit, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates, and decreasing fat, especially saturated fat, sugar and salt. It also recognises provision of healthy options for children, and rewards staff training and the promotion and marketing of healthier options.
Why is it important?
Eating out increasingly plays an important part in our lives - over one third of all money spent on food and drink in Wales is eaten outside of the home; and people are increasingly looking for healthy options to help support healthier lifestyles.
The National Statistics Family Food Survey 2005-2006, shows that just under a third of all money spent on food and drink (excl. alcohol) in the UK was on that consumed outside the home. Food consumed outside the home tends to be higher in added sugar and slightly higher in fat than food prepared at home.
A diet high in saturated fats has been associated with an increased risk of obesity and Coronary Heart Disease.
Currently in Wales, over half the adult population is classed as overweight or obese.
38% of children are classified as overweight or obese including 20% of these, so 1 in 5 obese.
Being overweight or obese increases the risk of a range of diseases - high blood pressure, type II diabetes, some cancers, heart disease and stroke. Circulatory diseases such as heart disease and stroke are the most common cause of death in Wales, accounting for 32% of premature deaths in men and 23% of premature deaths in women.
Caterers can make a big difference!
Who can apply?
Within Pembrokeshire the Award is generally open to catering businesses targeting young persons and families, in line with wider health improvement priorities. In addition, applications are invited from larger workplaces etc. with canteen facilities, and a substantial number of regular customers, where the food offering may make up a significant part of the diet.
A further stipulation is that the food business is also ‘broadly compliant' or better with food safety requirements, attracting a score of 3 or above under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, to help ensure that any food is safe as well as healthier.
What's in it for me?
The Healthy Options Award is good for:
You could make a tremendous contribution to improving your customers' diet and health by providing healthier food choices.
You'll have public recognition for achieving the award and could enhance your image as a responsible business that puts its customers first. It could give you a competitive edge and increase customer satisfaction as the demand for healthier choices continues to grow-many food manufacturers and retailers who have introduced healthier options are seeing growth in sales.
Your customers will be able to benefit from the freedom to select a healthy option if they choose and have more control over what they eat, and ultimately, their health.
What will I need to do?
To achieve an Award your business will be assessed against certain criteria that are based on the principles of a healthy balanced diet such as keeping fat, sugar and salt to a minimum, making fruit and vegetables widely available and basing main meals on starchy carbohydrates. You will also be assessed on having appropriate marketing and promotion of the healthier options.
If you want further details on this Scheme you might wish to review the attached ‘Step-by-Step Guide to the Healthy Options Award' which should provide plenty of information to get you started.
If you require further details, would like to obtain further advice or support in pursuing an Award, or are interested in making an application, please contact:
Community Nutrition Practitioner
Hywel Dda Health Board
Tel: 01437 772883
Fax: 01437 772887
Further support materials are also available via the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (Cymru) website at:
Further information on adopting healthier lifestyles, including healthy eating, can be found at: