Healthier foods could soon be appearing next to the soft drink and chocolate bars at Dunedin City Council facilities, with the council looking at running a trial on the issue. Photo by Tim Miller
Healthy food may soon be found next to the chocolate bars and
soft drinks in council buildings, as the Dunedin City Council
looks at trialling healthier food options.
But one nutrition specialist says the council needs to be
brave and replace all unhealthy options if they want the
policy to work.
Council staff will soon report to councillors on the progress
of a healthy food policy, which would look at ways the
council could provide more healthy food in facilities such as
University of Otago department of nutrition researcher Penny
Field applauded the council for looking at any policy that
would increase healthy food, but would like to see it take
the initiative further and take away all unhealthy food and
''Councils are in a pretty influential position when it comes
to guiding public policy so I would like to see them go cold
turkey and only offer healthy food, only if it is just for a
The council would have to look at ways to make healthy food
attractive, such as making it cheaper and more visible than
unhealthy food, Ms Field said.
''There is no point in offering healthy food if it is priced
the same as fizzy drink or chocolate bars or is tucked away
at the bottom of the machine.''
Research showed environment was an important part in a
healthy lifestyle and food offered in public places was part
Council parks, recreation and aquatics manager Mick Reece
said the council had a duty to make sure it offered healthy
food at places like Moana Pool and other council facilities.
Unhealthy food and drink would not be taken away, as the
council was not in the business of telling people how to
live, Mr Reece said.
''Once you start to take items away, you are dictating to
people and that is likely to turn them against any
proposal,'' he said.
The initial proposal - to look at food choices at Moana Pool
- was likely to be extended to other council facilities, Mr
''In the end it is up to the public. If we give them the
healthy food options and [they] don't buy it, then we will
have to take it away.''
Councillors Jinty MacTavish and Aaron Hawkins were contacted
by supporters on social media asking them to look at removing
unhealthy food from council organisations.
Both councillors told The Star they supported the council
offering more choice but did not want to comment on how far
any policy should be taken until they were shown the report.
- by Tim Miller