Part 2 of 2, Healthy Food and Beverage Toolkit Implementation

– [Voiceover] Hello, and welcome back. This is Peggy Paul, the senior
director of community health for the American Heart Association. We had some technical difficulties with our prior webinar recording, so we have split this
in two, but the quality is still going to be, or
the quality of the content is still going to be as
good as we had planned. So joining me now is Lauren Mitrenga who is an HR analyst
with Prime Therapeutics, and she’s gonna walk through
how Prime Therapeutics implemented the Healthy
Food and Beverage Toolkit in their workplace. And then we’re gonna
ask her some questions and wrap it up. So, Lauren, thanks for being here. – [Voiceover] Thank you
for having me, Peggy. So I’m gonna get started by
talking a little bit about who Prime is and then
about our wellness program and then how we got
started with the toolkits. So Prime Therapeutics is a
pharmacy benefit manager. We are located in the United States. Majority of our employees
are spread between the Midwest and the
southern United States. If you look at the map here,
you can see where we are. Prime dispenses over 7.25 million prescriptions
on an annual basis. We’ve got over 3,700 employees, then, located in the United States. We service 13 Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan. I’m sorry, we’re owned by 13
Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan, and we have 23 Blue Cross
Blue Shield Plan clients. Our purpose at Prime is to
help people to get the medicine they need to feel better and live well, which aligns really good with the American Heart Association’s mission, which is why Prime has
decided to partner with them as one of our strategic charity partners. Our wellness program,
then, was created to help our internal employees
encompass all aspects that contribute to their
overall health and well-being. So our wellness program called be well helps provide employees
with guidance to help them plan well, feel well, and live well, so everything from financial
health, physical health, and emotional health. And which is how we also got working with American Heart Association because we’d like them
to be healthy at work, and if they’re healthy at
work, then they’re gonna bring that home and be
healthy at home as well. So to start off by creating a culture of healthy eating at Prime. Our former CEO, Eric Elliott, served on the local
American Heart Association’s board of directors, and while he was at one of their meetings, the
Healthy Toolkit was introduced. And he returned from that
board of director meeting and asked his assistant, Adriana, to help implement this at Prime. So what she first started to do was take a look at the
toolkit and compare it to what we were currently doing
at Prime and seeing how we could implement it
with our executives first and then throughout the
rest of the company. It was really important to
lead by example at Prime, so we first started with
our executive staff, getting their approvals
and working through what they were doing to then move down throughout the company. So what we did is, first
of all, taking a look at our executive kitchens. We have kitchens that provide
a small, simple snacks to our executives throughout the day. They also have beverages in
there, some sodas and water. Our executives have busy schedules and sometimes don’t have the
time to stop and get lunch or stop and grab food throughout the day, so this is available for
them to just grab something on the go. But in that kitchen, it wasn’t
always all healthy food, so that’s where we took a look
at the toolkit and decided that this was the first
area where we were gonna start making some changes. So, first of all, we looked at the toolkit and what was in our kitchens. We inventoried to determine
what the differences were between what we were
currently offering and what the American Heart Association
had in their toolkit. We curated a side by side comparison of what was provided in the kitchen, and the comparison showed us where, then, we needed to improve on
providing heart-healthy options. From there, we determined
what our next steps would be. Our next steps, then, were
we conducted a meeting with the CEO. We were really lucky because Eric Elliott is a huge supporter of creating a healthy environment at work. He was a huge supporter of the
AHA as well as their toolkit. Therefore, it was a very easy discussion. We reviewed everything that
was within the toolkit, the guidelines, and
identified what changes we would have to make
based on the toolkit, and then we started implementing
that in our kitchens. So, first, to implemented the changes, we had to reduce our sugar
sweetened beverages by 70%. We had to limit the non-nutritious foods and eliminate the following items: any ranch dressings,
butter, string cheese, pretzels, chips, and popcorn. We decided, then, to continue
providing healthy options such as fruits, veggie trays, and yogurts. We also, then, decided
to eliminate sharing of any type of non-healthy
foods or snacks. So a lot of times it’s corporate culture where you bake something, you bring it in, and share it with your co-workers, so we asked all of the
people on seventh floor, “Please don’t bring in any items anymore. “If you’re gonna bake cupcakes or muffins, “leave them at home. “Please don’t share
them at Prime anymore.” And then all of our executive
conference room refrigerators, now we’ll only be providing
bottled water versus sodas. And we had to communicate our commitment to a healthy workplace
to our executive staff and administrative support, and that’s where we saw a
little bit of hesitation. To begin with, some of the executives weren’t happy about losing their
sodas in the refrigerators, but ultimately agreed that this was the right direction to go. So then after we did all of that, our next steps would be ultimately
to implement everything. We ultimately eliminated sugars
after we implemented our, I’m sorry, after we implemented our change in the exec kitchen, we
decided what our next steps would be moving forward,
and we ultimately decided we’re gonna take out all
sugar sweetened beverages as an option, so now in all
of our executive kitchens, you only can find water. And we only a very limited amount of soda on a monthly basis, and once
that soda’s gone, it is gone, and we don’t reorder. And if they’d like their own soda, they need to bring it themselves. We also created an action
plan for on-site meals. So what we did here is we gave all of the administrative
support staff the toolkit, and we asked them, “If you’re
gonna be ordering food, “please follow the healthy guidelines “that are in this toolkit,
and please make sure “that you have healthy options available.” And there are probably some
Prime administrative assistants listening in on this webinar
today, and we thank you for joining us and helping us to create this culture of health
in our organization. We also are gonna start
doing menu planning for off-site events using the toolkit. So as assistants, we coordinate
logistics for meetings held at off-site venues, and
we are going to recommend the toolkit guidelines to the
people we are working with to try and help them help us
with customizing menus for these off-site events such as
board of director meetings, ELT meetings, SLT meetings,
or any other off-sites. So this is a picture of
one of our refrigerators in one of our executive conference rooms. You can see on the left side
that was the refrigerator before we started
implementing these changes, and then the right side is after we implemented these changes,
so you can see no sodas in there at all anymore, just water. So besides implementing
with our executive staff in their kitchens, we also took a look at our cafeterias and our vending machines. In our cafeterias, we have a
variety of different options that are available. Not a lot of healthy options though, so what we did was we sat
down with the grill manager, and we asked what could be
done to help change this. And actually we got
very lucky here as well. The grill manager was very on board with helping us do
this, so we actually had a really easy conversation. After our conversation, he put
up the nutrition information for any item that was being served. We also asked him if he could
default on the grill items, such as the burgers and stuff like that, that veggies be the default
versus french fries. This was a little bit more of a harder conversation with him,
although he did agree to do it, and that is now currently being done. If an employee would like
fries with their food, they have to specifically ask for it. And we’ve also asked
him if he would include Weight Watchers recipes in
the monthly meal rotation, and he was happy to do this as well. He asked us just provide him
with the Weight Watcher recipe, and he would just add it in. And a lot of times
employees don’t even realize it’s a Weight Watchers
recipe ’cause we don’t specifically call it out,
but those individuals who do do Weight Watchers are aware of it, and they can count their
points accordingly then. Then in our vending machines, we took a look at what we were offering, and we first started by
reducing the cost of water to $1.00 and kept the
cost of soda at $1.35. We also then added healthy options to all of Prime’s vending machines, so what we did was we took the toolkit and took a look at what
our vending company considered to be a healthy option, and we rotated out anything that did not fall into the toolkit guidelines. Again, we’ve gotten really lucky ’cause the vending machine
company was willing to work with us as well. They provided us a ton
of nutrition information, suggestions, ideas of what sold well and what did not sell well,
and what employees really like and what they wouldn’t like. So now we have more healthy
options than we did before, and all of our healthy options are marked and easily recognizable to employees. And I am happy to say that
I was in the breakroom the other day, and I noticed
that there were a couple empty spaces in our vending machines, and those were some of
the new healthy items that we had added recently,
and they were sold out compared to some of the other more popular chips and candy bars in there. So then what are our next
steps moving forward? We are continuing to use the AHA toolkit to compare against the items
in the vending machine. We have a lot of healthy
items in there now. We are gonna continuously
add more healthy items on a quarterly basis. We didn’t wanna shock employees by putting them all in at once, so we’re going to start
taking a few things out on a quarterly basis and
adding a few new things in and then switching out things
that maybe aren’t selling well and adding a couple
other items in as well. We’re also going to possibly look at doing a stand-alone test of a
healthy vending machine. This would be a vending
machine that only has healthy items in it. Typically, they’re a
little bit higher priced, but we’re gonna try it
at one of our locations and then see how it goes for a few months and then see if we can implement it at all of our Prime locations. So that is how Prime has
implemented the toolkit. I’d be happy to talk to
anybody about questions or how we got started. Please feel free to call or email me or find me on LinkedIn. My contact information
is listed on the screen as well as Peggy can
forward me any questions if you send them to her as well. Adriana and I would be happy
to answer them for you guys. – [Voiceover] Thank you, Lauren. Yes, for sure send your questions
to Lauren and or myself, and what we’ll probably end up
doing is a follow-up webinar of the questions that have come in. And, unfortunately, Adriana
wasn’t able to be with us today, but she has some really good
insight just coming from the perspective of being
the one that had to talk to a lot of executives to say, “Yup, no more soda,” you’re gonna have water type of thing, and that can be kind of a tough position. But, Lauren, I just wanted to
ask you a couple questions. And something I think you, Prime Therapeutics is actually
an excellent case study on how everything is going well. Like you kept saying,
“We’re very fortunate. “We’re very fortunate.” I think one of the
challenges that I hear from are that companies, they don’t
have that executive support or the time that it takes. Is there anything that
you would advise them on in the sense of approaching
their executive leadership and how to obtain that buy-in? What would be an important point? – [Voiceover] I think you
have to have a champion in your organizations. You have to have an
executive who you can go to and get them really on
board because if you have a top level person in the company
that’s willing to help you, you’re gonna have an easier time convincing the rest of the
company to follow suit. Even then, that top level
person can help convince the CEO or other executives to
follow suit, so I think it’s looking at maybe your HR person
or somebody that you know is a runner, or something
like that, in the company who you can approach and
say, “Hey. I know you’re “a healthy person. We see you running,” or “You’re really into fitness? “What do you think about this? “Do you think you can help
champion this with us? “Do you think we can get this started?” And to start those conversations that way. Because if you don’t have
somebody on that level that’s really able to kind
of help you push this, it’s not gonna succeed. – [Voiceover] And I think
particularly, too, people who have stories or connections to
heart disease and stroke. – [Voiceover] That too.
– [Voiceover] That should be just a natural buy-in that
they should care about this, so that’s another angle as
well, to approach somebody who has personal history
with cardiovascular disease and or stroke in their family. Can you share a little bit
about what your role is at Prime and how you’re involved with this? – [Voiceover] Sure. So I kind of wear a couple
different hats at Prime. I help with the wellness program. I started with Prime four years ago managing the wellness program,
just our basic program, and I’ve kind of grown from there. On top of the wellness program, I also run our charitable giving programs, so I work with AHA not only,
well, on the wellness side, but I also work with them
on our charitable, giving side of it as well, which
really ties into our employees ’cause we have them out doing
things like the heart walk, and we help campaign for all of this, so it kind of really ties
everything in together with Prime. – [Voiceover] That makes
sense. You walk the talk. – [Voiceover] Yes.
(both laugh) – [Voiceover] I also wanted to
ask you about your cafeteria and your grill manager. Is that grill manager
employed by Prime Therapeutics or is that an external vendor to Prime? – [Voiceover] That’s a good
question, he’s an external vendor to Prime. He works for an external company, but he is located in Prime. And he was actually, like I said, very willing to work with us. We got very lucky because he did not say, “Okay. I need to go back to my corporate. “I need to ask them if we can do this.” He just said, “Sure.
How do you wanna do it? “Let’s figure out how
we can make it work.” – [Voiceover] The one thing
I would just wanna comment on is we did a couple years ago a symposium around gradually changing your vending machines
to healthier options. This is before our toolkit came out. And one of the things that
came from that symposium is there was a vendor, a
food vendor, in the room and she said, “You drag that relationship, “and there may be pushback on,
‘No we don’t wanna do that,'” or that the vendor may seem uncooperative. But, fundamentally, you’re the customer, and if you do not want to work
with them, or if they do not follow the suggestions
that you are requesting, it’s your position to change that or to make sure that it gets done. Yeah, you’re the customer. – [Voiceover] Yeah, the only
pushback he had was with the default of giving vegetables
versus french fries. That was a couple conversations. He wanted to really
keep those french fries, but I think ultimately
it was a good thing, and he got on board. – [Voiceover] So you just got
to change the normal burger and fries with a burger and veggies. – [Voiceover] Yes, and I
think employees were confused at first, but they’re
getting used to it too. – [Voiceover] They’re like,
“Something’s off with them.” Okay, and then one of the
comments I wanted to make too is you have made a lot of
changes quickly within Prime. One of the things when
I’m working with companies is I really encourage them
taking a little bit more time. I think you have a right
culture for it and support, you know, obviously, your wellness program and your philanthropy
supports what you’re doing. But for some companies,
they may not be able to move as fast as you.
– [Voiceover] Right. – [Voiceover] Yes, so I think
if you kind of think about it as a three-year plan… – [Voiceover] We actually
implemented the healthy cafeteria stuff a while ago. This was before the
toolkit came out as well. We were going to try and get the CEOs Against Cancer Gold Standard, and we actually implemented
the cafeterias at that time. We re-looked at it again
when the toolkit came out. We were planning to try and move more with the toolkit stuff moving forward. But the healthy cafeterias
were done previously. – [Voiceover] Mm-hmm. That’s good. We all talk to each other, so that’s good.
– [Voiceover] Yes. – [Voiceover] One of the other
things I just wanna ask you about is you mentioned
that some of the foods that you’re not offering
anymore in the kitchens, like string cheese and
things of that sort, but you also mentioned yogurts,
and I was curious to know ’cause one thing I’m sensitive to just is the nutrition information
on those yogurts. So a lot of times we can
think yogurt is healthy. – [Voiceover] Healthy, but it’s not. – [Voiceover] It’s not, so
I just wondered what kind of yogurt are you serving? – [Voiceover] I believe
it’s the Greek yogurts, which are a little bit better for you than the regular kind of
traditional yogurts are. I know we also have some
of the light yogurts available as well. – [Voiceover] That’s something
to really be cautious about is reading the sugar
contents on those yogurts because then it’s like having a sundae. – [Voiceover] Yeah, some of them are. – [Voiceover] Right. Well, I that’s it for this
part of our presentation. And, Lauren, I thank you for
being here and Tracy as well who spoke in part one, and, of course, to Adriana and her contributions. She’s supported us
locally at our symposium, and hopefully we’ll get her back, and we can ask her some questions too. So what’s your plan? So I encourage you to think
about where do you need to start. Lauren mentioned that senior buy-in, and perhaps it’s not your CEO that is the person you start with. Perhaps it’s somebody
that reports under the CEO that cares about heart health
and disease prevention. And I think you need to be
realistic about work culture too, what you can do, what’s feasible, and what’ll take some time. And I encourage, if you
haven’t done so yet, to register for the tooklit. It’s a live document, and
we’ve had one update to it since it launched, and you’ll find that at And ur is actually the letter U and R. And as I mentioned, please
do send me questions if you have questions and
or forward them to Lauren, and we’ll respond to you,
and more than likely, we’ll be doing a follow-up
pretty soon to this webinar just to check in and see
how companies are doing and share best practices
and lessons learned. So thanks for joining us in the webinar. And, Lauren, thanks again.
– [Voiceover] Thank you. – [Voiceover] And to Tracy as well. And we’re all about
making the healthy choice the easy choice. Take good care. Bye-bye.

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