A free to join certification scheme aimed at supporting and promoting businesses selling food and drink who provide 'healthier choices' to their customers.

Gold, Silver and Bronze  award for Healthier choices for a healthier you

We want to help support businesses to offer healthier choices to the people of North Yorkshire. If you're passionate about food and your customers' wellbeing, joining our scheme can help your customers be aware that you offer healthy alternatives. 

When you join Healthier Choices, our project officers will come out and visit your food business to look at what you currently offer, and what changes you could make. That could range from menu choices and production methods, to alternative cooking methods or ingredients. We won't ask you to do anything that doesn't work for you or your business.

We will then determine whether you qualify for our gold, silver or bronze award, as a recognition of what you already offer, or what changes you are willing to make. We'll give you a certificate and window sticker so that your customers can see that you are certified by the Healthier Choices scheme.

Who can join the scheme?

We'd love to hear from you if:

  • you're passionate about your food and believe it's important to provide healthier choices;
  • you'd like certification to prove that you offer healthy food;
  • you'd like to encourage new customers and promote a healthier menu;
  • you already offer healthier options or you are willing to make small changes; and
  • your business is food hygiene rated three or above. 

The problem of overweight and obesity is a global issue, and one which is reflected at both national and local level.

Here in North Yorkshire:

  • 23.4 % of four to five year olds are overweight or obese.
  • 30.6% of children aged 10 -11 are overweight or obese.
  • 61.3% of adults are overweight or obese.

(Source: Public Health England)

We are working with partner organisations to help combat obesity and its effects on people's wellbeing, as well as the strain it puts on health budgets.

This project complements that work by improving food businesses' awareness of health related issues, and by improving menus without losing taste or customer satisfaction.

Benefits for your business:

  • Offering healthier choices and smaller portions can encourage new customers.
  • You don't want to lose a group booking because a member of the party wants a healthier option that isn't available.
  • Considering alternative cooking methods and ingredients may save you money without necessarily affecting the great taste of your dishes.
  • We will help promote eligible businesses' achievements through the website, social media and local facilities like libraries, leisure centres, GP surgeries and local radio.
  • You get a certificate and window sticker to show that you have been certified under the scheme.
  • For businesses that struggle to identify possible improvements, we can help by inviting you to workshops to learn about opportunities and potential savings.
  • Making small changes can make a big difference.
  • This free scheme shows you are considerate to the needs of your customers and the community.
  • Achieving a high level would give a competitive edge over your competitors.

Benefits for your customers:

  • Those customers who want to eat out, but are conscious of their health, have increased choice of foods and are informed of the options available. 
  • We all eat out. However, we don't all necessarily consider the content of the foods we are consuming. By showing a willingness to consider healthier choices you will increase customer confidence, thereby improving customer loyalty.
  • Offering healthier alternative allows those watching their weight to eat out and have a treat, but to go for a smaller option or a healthier choice.

The level of the award is dependent on the extent of the healthier options that you provide, or pledge to provide in future. This assessment will be undertaken by one of the project team with your menu being compared against a range of criteria.

The criteria reflect that found in similar schemes which promote healthy eating such as change4life and the school standards which are maintained by all of the schools in the county. Most criteria offer a range of points in order to capture the varying extent of each participant's activities.

Before the assessment please use the following headings as a guide to consider where you may wish to make changes to your menu. 

Taking a balanced approach

  • Do you offer a range of portion sizes?
  • Can you increase the use of vegetables and salad in your meals?
  • Are children's meals nutritionally balanced?

Reductions and healthier alternatives

  • Could you remove trans-fats from your dishes?
  • Do you use lean meats or remove fat during preparation?
  • Is it possible to use low fat instead of full fat ingredients? E.g. cheese, mayonnaise.
  • Can you reduce the amount of salt used during preparation?
  • Consider removing salt shakers from the tables and only providing on request.
  • Can you promote low sugar choices over products high in sugar? E.g. desserts, sweets and carbonated drinks.

Frying and cooking methods

  • Can you reduce oil absorption by maintaining the quality of your oils?
  • Consider alternative cooking methods, for example grilling rather than frying.

Actively promoting healthier choices

  • Is it possible to provide water cheaper than fizzy drinks?
  • Do you promote local or national campaigns at your premises? E.g. change4life.
  • Do you and your staff actively promote healthier choices?

The nature of your business may not lend itself to each and every criteria. As such, the attainment level is calculated by determining a percentage of the total points available to each business. 

If you have any questions please contact the project team. 

Telephone us on 01609 534810 or email ts.healthierchoices@northyorks.gov.uk.

Please leave us your name, business name and address and contact details and one of the project team will be in touch to arrange a convenient time and date to visit your premises and evaluate not only your current menu but also the potential for further initiatives to improve the healthiness of what you offer.

Once we have completed the assessment, we will then evaluate your approach against the other registered businesses to ensure a consistent application of the assessment criteria.

This whole process typically takes a week and once the level of award has been decided we will ask you to agree to the terms and conditions of registration and plan for the promotion of your achievement. This will coincide with the distribution of your certificate and window sticker.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

The award is valid for two years, however if you feel you can attain the next level of award within this period please let us know and we will happily reassess.

As with every scheme, there are terms and conditions with which we will ask you to comply. Businesses that don't will be removed from the scheme.

We appreciate some businesses will not be able to make enough changes to enable them to join the scheme as a certificated member.

We also recognise, there are suggestions, improvements and money saving tips that we can offer every type of business regardless as to whether they are on the certification scheme or not. As an alternative to signing up to the scheme we will be providing workshops to develop and discuss possible savings. Please contact us to find out what we can offer you.

This scheme is just one way to recognise achievements in reducing salt, sugar and fat in meals and drinks and to offer healthier choices, if you have used other means to achieve the same ends please let us know. 

Find out more

Telephone us on 01609 534810 or email ts.healthierchoices@northyorks.gov.uk.

You can also contact us, and see what we are up to, on the Trading Standards Twitter and Trading Standards Facebook.

Find a food business near you offering Healthier Choices