June 23, 2014

Today, I would like to focus on the second section of the position statement adopted by the NCRPA Board of Directors about supporting the use of healthy food in youth sports. While the first section of the policy statement (which I discussed last week) concentrated on food for athletes, the second part covers healthy food for spectators at sporting events. Specifically, healthy concessions should be:

Concessions are often a large source of revenue for local agencies, so changing what’s on the menu during difficult budget times may seem infeasible. However, there are many agencies around the country (and here in North Carolina) that have made this change, while still making a profit. Here are some examples:

  • For Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks, 38% of all concession sales are healthy options. They hope to increase this percentage with the opening of a mobile concession stand.
  • Graham Recreation and Parks is adding smoothies and other healthy food to their menu
  • Kannapolis Parks and Recreation now has glass-front refrigerators for fruit and yogurt at their concession stands.

Healthy options can be successful, with the right pricing, tools, and marketing. Below are a few resources you can use to add, promote, and price healthy options in your concessions stands.

  • The Wellness Toolkit has a page on healthy concessions that covers the how to price healthy options competitively.
  •  Healthy South Dakota’s model concession guide includes food offerings based on the type of food and nutritional content. It also recommends ways to control portion size.
  •  The Fairmont Park Conservancy’s guide has in-depth suggestions for marketing healthier options.
  • The Public Health Law Center in Minnesota has a flyer that contains suggestions for healthier options of your unhealthy snacks (such as baked fries and lighter sandwiches).
  • And to see these changes put into practice, check out healthy concession case studies from Minnesota, South Dakota, New Jersey, and Texas.

Finally, I would like to remind you about two upcoming Wellness Initiative events:

  • The next Wellness Webinar is tomorrow (June 24) at 1:30. Cabarrus County Active Living and Parks staff will be presenting about implementing healthy vending options. Register now.
  •  There will be a Healthy Food Workshop is June 17th in Raleigh from 10 to 12. Come to this free event and learn more about how to find, prepare, and use produce in your programs. Register here.



Erin Crouse
Graduate Assistant, NC Recreation & Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC  27605


North Carolina Recreation and Park Association
883 Washington St, Raleigh, NC 27506


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