UBC Undergraduate Research

Vendor Strategy for the Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) Kaushal, Puloma; Tan, Eu King; Elbakyan, Tali; Zimberoff, Noah; Ahmed, Faiza


PROJECT BACKGROUND Given that sugar-sweetened beverages are the single-largest source of added sugar in the diets of youth and young adults in British Columbia (Czoli et al., 2019), the UBC Wellbeing Strategic Framework has a target of reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by 50% by 2025. The Healthy Beverage Initiative (HBI) Vendor Strategy lies in the third priority area of the HBI which is to modify our environment by increasing access to healthier beverages. This can be done by creating a HBI membership requiring its members to increase supplies of non-sugar sweetened beverages and reduce supplies of sugar-sweetened beverages. PROJECT OBJECTIVES AND METHODS The HBI Vendor Strategy’s main objective is to increase the supply of non sugar-sweetened beverages by developing a business case for vendors to become members of the HBI. To do this, our team collected secondary data by conducting an environmental scan and literature search of 14 articles on settings that have implemented similar initiatives. For primary data collection, we created and conducted a survey to understand 25 vendors’ attitudes and knowledge of the HBI. Based on the data we collected, we made short term to long term recommendations on the adaption of HBI designation which vendors acquire by becoming members of the HBI. Our other deliverables included designing sample ecolabels to place on shelves with no sugar-sweetened beverages and creating a planogram to aid in product and ecolabel placement. RESULTS With a response rate of 45% for UBC Vancouver and 67% for UBC Okanagan in the HBI Vendor Survey, we found that almost 17% of vendors were interested in joining the HBI, 75% were neutral about joining, and 4% were disinterested. The most popular reason for interest was to contribute to campus wellbeing by increasing access to healthier beverages and the most popular reasons for disinterest were commitments to beverage contracts, limited knowledge on the HBI membership, and fear of declining revenue from beverage sales. RECOMMENDATIONS AND CONCLUSION In order to address the reasons for vendor disinterest in the HBI, we created a vendor business strategy based on data of HBI-member settings to explain that there is no decline in sales by becoming members of the HBI. Our short term recommendations include creating a steering committee who can work collaboratively with relevant stakeholders to create a public recognition system and an education and communications plan to promote the membership. Our long term recommendations include modifying corporate vendor contracts, phasing out advertisements and endorsements of non-HBI members, and monitoring compliance of members. We found limited research on the data of post-secondary institutions (such as UC Berkeley, UC Davis, Portland State University, and Columbia University) which have implemented similar initiatives. Therefore, we recommend examining initiative successes and failures of these universities which can act as templates for UBC to follow for its own effective HBI membership. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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