Key allies

Introduction

Establishing healthy food service guidelines should be a collaborative process from the beginning. A wide variety of people can help with implementation and adoption, and it pays off to form partnerships and identify a team of allies at the outset. Stakeholders can consider the following people when thinking about potential allies.

Randolph-Sheppard Act vendors

The Randolph-Sheppard Act (RSA) established the Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program, a federal law that gives priority to blind vendors for certain food service facilities on federal government property. The RSA means that blind vendors, state blind vendor committees and the state agencies involved in administering RSA programs are critical partners in implementing healthy food service guidelines.

Employees

Stakeholders should begin by surveying key employees about what they’d like healthy food service guidelines to accomplish at their worksite. This helps them develop a better understanding of what the target audience wants. They should be sure to survey a representative sample and include unions and other employee associations if available. They may consider forming a workgroup or task force that meets regularly during implementation and evaluation.

Community members

Many people come to government institutions to visit or access services. Stakeholders should survey nonemployees and visitors as they would key employees. It’s important to bring in people from the community, especially if they have an interest in health and wellness. It’s also a good idea to consult representatives of schools and private businesses that have implemented successful healthy food service guidelines.

Purchasing director and other experts

The parties involved need to work with the purchasing director to determine who will be responsible for implementing the policy. It is critical to get buy-in for healthy food service guidelines from the people who oversee purchasing and food service. Other experts can offer information about how food is procured and sourced in the facility. Food consultants and others can be helpful, but the people involved should be careful when involving others who might unfairly benefit from the process. There may be a conflict of interest when working with these groups or individuals, and state and local laws may prohibit this kind of collaboration.

Government agency leaders

Stakeholders should consider including health department representatives, health care campus directors, and other people in implementing healthy food service guidelines.

Building managers

Building managers are important allies. They may help oversee food service operations at their facilities.

Policy champions

An influential policymaker, such as an elected official, or a community leader could speak publicly about healthy food service guidelines. 

Worksite wellness staff

Worksite wellness committees and coordinators can champion this work. They can help promote and implement healthy food service guidelines, which should be part of a comprehensive strategy to promote health and wellness. Some worksites have implemented healthy food service guidelines in alignment with a larger strategic plan or mission to promote healthier choices in the workplace and through their programs and services.

Food experts

Nutritionists and dietitians can provide guidance on health needs, nutrition standards, and criteria for healthy food service guidelines.

Food service operators

Food service operators, vendors, producers, and distributors can play a role in increasing the supply of healthier foods and beverages. Stakeholders can cultivate relationships with vendors that share a commitment to providing healthier food and understand the economic benefits of promoting health through better access. Though food service operators can be helpful, those involved should be careful when involving others who might unfairly benefit from the process. There may be a conflict of interest when working with these groups or individuals, and state and local laws may prohibit this kind of collaboration.

Public health advocates from all fields

Allies working in public health, energy conservation, environmental sustainability, food security, or the anti-hunger arena may be able to provide support for healthy food service guidelines. People and groups in different sectors may be incentivized to promote the guidelines if the guidelines prioritize mutually beneficial goals, such as energy efficiency, local food sourcing, and nutrition.