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The Washington State Department of Health, the Access to Healthy Foods Coalition, and Kids First sponsored the 2nd Northwest Healthy Foods Expo. As only the fourth such event in the country, the Expo provided an innovative way to increase access to healthy foods in institutional eating environments such as schools, hospitals, and large worksites by bringing institutional food buyers together with vendors offering healthy food items. 350 representatives from institutions in Washington and 40 vendors exhibiting healthy snacks, beverages, and raw ingredients attended the event.
All snacks foods exhibited at the Expo met pre-determined nutritional criteria set by Kids First, a non-profit company from Rhode Island that pioneered the Healthy Food Expo idea. All meal and side items met criteria set forth by the Winner's Circle program.
Three volunteers from the University of Washington's Nutritional Science Program conducted exit surveys with 75 of the attendees. 87% of responders indicated that attending the Expo will assist them in establishing healthier meal and vending options in their school district, hospital, university, or business. 76% responded that they would attend another Foods Expo in the future. A vendor survey will also be performed in follow-up communication from Kids First to assess satisfaction with the event and number of partners made as a result of the event.
The Washington State Department of Health contracted with Kids First to coordinate the Expo. Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health's Chef Trixie and 5 a Day friends provided entertainment and an atmosphere of fun for the attendees. The Access to Healthy Foods Coalition provided technical assistance with advertising to buyers. Lead agency role: WA State Department of Health organized the Expo, provided technical assistance to Kids First, and coordinated the invitations to buyers.
Featured: Winter 2006
School food service directors, human resource professionals, worksite wellness coordinators, and other people responsible for institutional food purchasing