Not in our interest to 'kill our customers': Restaurants join healthy food bandwagon

26 July 2019 - 07:00
South Africans who like takeaways will have more healthier choices from Friday.
Image: Discovery Vitality South Africans who like takeaways will have more healthier choices from Friday.

South Africans eating out or buying takeaways will have healthier choices available to them from Friday.

This as Nandos, Ocean Basket, Col’Cacchio, Doppio Zero and Uber Eats form an expanded partnership with Discovery Vitality.

Following the trend towards convenience-based meals, they have collaborated "to create new holistic, nutritrious options" to combat the obesity epidemic, said Dr Craig Nossel, head of Vitality Wellness at Discovery. The wellness programme will reward nutritious choices among its members, particularly for children.

Choosing healthier food results in weight loss
Image: Discovery Vitality Choosing healthier food results in weight loss

Doug Place, Nandos chief marketing officer, said: "It is in no-one’s interests to kill our customers. This is the first time people are being rewarded for eating healthier food."

The restaurants have created healthy options that are delicious, they proved with tasters at the Vitality HealthyDining launch on Wednesday night in Johannesburg.

Nossel said: "It has become increasingly common for people to eat meals on their own, rather than with their families – that have been bought from a drive-through window or convenience store – and to consume these while on the move or distracted."

The evolution of human eating habits
Image: 123RF/fffranz The evolution of human eating habits

Roughly 70% of premature deaths worldwide are caused by lifestyle diseases and healthier diets have the potential to prevent one in five of them.

In South Africa 80% of children eat fast food regularly and 13% of them are overweight, twice the global average, said Nossel.

Among adults 70% of women and 31% of men are overweight and obese - and sugary drinks, snacking, unhealthy fast foods and plus-size portions are fueling this problem.

Vitality Wellness statistics show that people who are overweight or obese have higher healthcare costs.

They have greater chance of being admitted to hospital and have longer hospital stays, Nossel said. These individuals also have a higher cost of living, spending more money on food, clothes and petrol.

Making healthier choices
Image: Discovery Vitality Making healthier choices

People can lose 3kg a over a year by replacing one unhealthy food item in your shopping basket per week with one healthy food item (healthy categories of dairy, fats and oils, fruit, vegetables, protein-rich foods and legumes), said Nossel.

Processed meats, convenience meals, sweets and chocolates, sugary drinks, and cakes, muffins and biscuits are listed as unhealthy choices. Vitality incentivises members to choose the better option.

To encourage better choices, Vitality is focusing on three principles: ‘Buy better food, cook more often and eat healthier meals when eating out’.

Behavioural economics research proves that incentives can have a positive impact on people’s choices and health.