Objectives: We assessed whether a 2-phase labeling and choice architecture intervention would increase sales of healthy food and beverages in a large hospital cafeteria.
Methods: Phase 1 was a 3-month color-coded labeling intervention (red = unhealthy, yellow = less healthy, green = healthy). Phase 2 added a 3-month choice architecture intervention that increased the visibility and convenience of some green items. We compared relative changes in 3-month sales from baseline to phase 1 and from phase 1 to phase 2.
Results: At baseline (977,793 items, including 199,513 beverages), 24.9% of sales were red and 42.2% were green. Sales of red items decreased in both phases (P < .001), and green items increased in phase 1 (P < .001). The largest changes occurred among beverages. Red beverages decreased 16.5% during phase 1 (P < .001) and further decreased 11.4% in phase 2 (P < .001). Green beverages increased 9.6% in phase 1 (P < .001) and further increased 4.0% in phase 2 (P < .001). Bottled water increased 25.8% during phase 2 (P < .001) but did not increase at 2 on-site comparison cafeterias (P < .001).
Conclusions: A color-coded labeling intervention improved sales of healthy items and was enhanced by a choice architecture intervention.