A healthy workforce makes good business sense, but many employers struggle to find an approach that supports healthy lifestyles without affecting productivity or morale. Many companies offer fitness facilities or incentives to encourage physical fitness, but influencing the eating habits of employees can prove to be more challenging.
Increasingly, these companies are discovering that Guiding Stars can play a role in achieving company wellness goals. By implementing a nutrition guidance system into in-house dining services, companies can help employees make healthy food choices on their own. Because Guiding Stars rates the nutrition of a company’s cafeteria offerings, employees only need to look for the star rating to make the healthiest choices.
IDEXX is a Maine-based multinational company that provides research, diagnostic, technology, and treatment solutions to the veterinary and food/water safety industries. With a worldwide workforce of over 5,000, IDEXX has firmly established itself as an organization that cares for the health of its employees so to that it can best provide for the health needs of its clients. And to that end, IDEXX partnered with Guiding Stars almost four years ago.
Kimberly Cassella is the Dining Services Manager at IDEXX, and I asked her a few questions after a recent wellness event at the company’s main Westbrook campus.
Erin: How have your employees reacted to the focus IDEXX has placed on their health and well-being?
Kim: IDEXX’s culture has a health and well being focus. The Dining Services Department, which I manage, enables IDEXXers to make food choices that meet their personal nutritional goals. In each cafeteria, incremental adjustments have been made that have been received with enthusiasm. Our wellness mission is: “To positively influence nutritional food choices and eating behavior through broad based awareness, tools, and offerings.”
Erin: Why did you choose Guiding Stars as your Dining Services Wellness Partner?
- Guiding Stars provides a strong emphasis on awareness and education.
- The rating system transcends education, rank, and nutritional knowledge.
- The algorithm-based rating system is an indisputable resource.
- Guiding Stars is easily accepted and recognizable (at work and in local grocery stores).
- The Guiding Stars website supports all IDEXX employees.
- Guiding Stars is a Maine-based business.
- Implementation of Guiding Stars into existing wellness programs is easy.
- Guiding Stars is a good business partner. This year IDEXX will celebrate the 4th anniversary of our partnership.
Erin: What is the most significant indicator you’ve identified as proof that your efforts are yielding results in line with your goals?
Kim: The sales metrics show that employees are making healthier choices. As an example, by simply adding signs showing Guiding Star’s rating of the various milk offered, we noticed a significant shift from higher fat to lower fat milk. In just one sales quarter, whole milk and 2% milk sales went down 21.2% and 10.4% respectively, while skim milk sales rose 14.6% and 1% milk went up 35.7%.
When a bit of marketing and product placement was added to the star signs more shifts were realized. Sales of whole fresh fruit with 2 and 3 star ratings went up 62%. 69.5% of nutritional bar sales shifted to items that earned the most Guiding Stars. And when a sign was placed near oatmeal identifying it as earning three Guiding Stars, sales rose 438.2% in one quarter.
IDEXX’s commitment to employee health is a model for all businesses, and we at Guiding Stars are pleased to play such a significant role in its success.