This past year, as the USDA annonced new dietary guidelines, Compass Group signed on as the first foodservice partner, agreeing to publicize the new guidelines, to show our customers how they can have a significant impact on their health, environment and community by the making proper food choices.
"...MyPlate is simple...."
our associate: Jennifer M. Ignacio, MS, RD
Nutrition Communications Manager
Why the partnership? Why is it important to Compass Group and sectors?
>> CNPP, the division of USDA responsible for communicating MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to the public, established the Nutrition Communicators Network to expand the reach of these messages and reduce confusion through consistent messaging in both the public and private sector. All of the National Strategic Partners, of which Compass Group was the first foodservice company to sign on, have agreed to help spread the messages of MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines.
Wellness is at the core of everything we do as a company, so partnering with USDA to help bring the messages of MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines to our customers and associates was a natural fit. As partners, we have direct communications with CNPP, giving us immediate access to any new messaging, tools or initiatives associated with MyPlate. We are also involved in strategic planning with CNPP which ensures that we are able to represent needs of our customers, clients and associates as the Nutrition Communicators Network continues its work.
How did MyPlate change this year?
In June 2011, USDA released MyPlate to replace MyPyramid as the icon representing the Dietary Guidelines. MyPlate is a significant change in focus from MyPyramid and the Food Guide Pyramid before it, which were meant to show overall eating recommendations. MyPlate simplifies the message, looking at one meal at a time, and using something familiar to all of us when eating – a plate.
Why is this important to our customers?
>> Customers are often confused by the amount of, and often seemingly conflicting nutrition information they are exposed to. Partnering with CNPP to bring the messaging of MyPlate to our customers helps to reduce this confusion. The wide reach of the National Strategic Partners helps to ensure that the same messaging will be taught in schools to children, promoted in grocery stores, discussed during health care visits and seen in our cafes, all with the same goal of improving health through better eating. We are in a unique position to help our customers because we can not only educate them about MyPlate and the Dietary Guidelines, but we can make it easy for them to put the recommendations into practice by providing menu options that make it easier for them to make their plates look like MyPlate.
What can we (at the unit / corporate) can do to support this partnership?
>> Help spread the message! We have developed and will continue to expand tools for our operators to bring MyPlate to their customers. Three times per year (January, May and September) the Eat Right Live Well newsletter (formerly Nutrigram) is dedicated to a Dietary Guidelines consumer message, and can be made available to customers in print or electronically. We recently released a MyPlate digital slideshow that can be played on a screen or digital frame in a café. The slideshow includes pictures of real food from a real Compass café following the recommendations of MyPlate along with key consumer messages from the Dietary Guidelines. This and other resources are available on the MyPlate page on MyCompass. Feedback is crucial to the success of this initiative, so we also ask that anyone who has suggestions or comments please pass them on.
What's coming up in 2012?
>> This March, we have chosen to follow the National Nutrition Month theme of Get Your Plate in Shape, which is based on MyPlate. Running this promotion is a great way to show customers how they can eat like MyPlate in our cafes. We are also piloting MyPlate specials and bundle meals and will be ready to release them for use in all Compass accounts later in 2012. For the partnership generally, we are looking at ways to work with some of the other National Strategic Partners, many of which we already work with as vendors or partners on other initiatives, on creative MyPlate projects.