Trends show U.S. hospitals are changing the food system

Trends show U.S. hospitals are changing the food system

Health care institutions across the country are adopting practices and policies to support a healthy food system.

Six trends — and the stories behind them — illustrate how health care is transforming communities and markets through local and sustainable food initiatives:

  1. Hospitals are serving less meat than ever before, citing health of patrons and planet.
  2. Meat raised without antibiotics is the new expectation for food service in institutions.
  3. Eighty-two percent of hospitals are purchasing locally produced foods.
  4. Nearly 60 percent of hospitals surveyed prioritize sustainable products.
  5. From on-site gardens to farmers markets, hospitals are expanding healthy food access.
  6. Screening for hunger and preventing disease, hospitals are advancing community wellness.

Every other year Health Care Without Harm’s Healthy Food in Health Care program releases a Menu of Change report summarizing our work and benchmarking the impact made by engaged health care facilities nationwide with trend data collected through a survey of our network and the Environmental Excellence Awards process.

This year’s report and the 325 hospitals that responded to the 2016 Healthy Food in Health Care survey demonstrate widespread commitment and action in facilities large and small, urban, suburban, and rural throughout the country.

While these six stories are inspiring, the work of many more in the network continue to trailblaze a new vision for food in health care and a food system that supports all of us.