Engaging comms: Feel Good Cafe – where social media sharing is a small price to pay for healthier food choices

Research conducted by Weight Watchers UK indicated that women in the UK are confused when it comes to beginning a change in diet, with 52% not knowing how to begin their weight loss journey and 8% feeling confident about making healthier food choices. Scary stuff. 

With the Weight Watchers brand suffering from ‘brown paper bag’ syndrome, The Feel Good Café in super trendy Hoxton Square, East London, was launched to build confidence in both consumer choice of healthy food and the brand – by offering healthy food for customers sharing their experience on social media. 

Confusion and lack of confidence in making healthy choices is a global challenge

In a poll of more than 1,200 American adults, close to 90 percent said their diet was either “somewhat,” “very,” or “extremely” healthy. However, 43 percent of the survey respondents said they drank at least one sugary soda or sweetened drink every day. A third also said they were at a healthy weight when they actually were overweight or obese. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/01/21/most-americans-are-delusional-about-healthy-eating.aspx

Our situation in Australia is deteriorating. 

Australia is now No. 3 in the world for obesity, 63% of the population is overweight and 28% obese (Source: No time to weight, Obesity Australia, 2013). 

Almost 1 million people have an eating disorder. http://thebutterflyfoundation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Butterfly_Report.pdf 

Amongst 12 to 17 year olds, 90% of females and 68% of males have been on a diet of some kind.
http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/key-research-a-statistics

Recent research by the Dietitians Association of Australia indicates that women 18 to 24 have put on more weight since 1995 than any other age group – up 27 per cent. Young women often eat on the run and are image-conscious. Many follow fad diets which don’t work and actually end up with weight gain, and they often do not work out to build a strong body. http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/young-australian-womens-growth-stunted-by-poor-diet-and-busy-lifestyle-abs-figures-reveal/story-fneuzlbd-1226841148772

The one thing that is certain, men and women around the world are confused

Research has shown that the traditional dieting approach of restricting both calories and food types shows poor results in achieving long-term weight loss. Within five years, many dieters regain any weight they lose and often end up heavier than when they began. They also tend to develop very unhealthy attitudes towards food and to lose their natural ability to recognise when they are hungry or full. 
http://www.eatingdisorders.org.au/key-research-a-statistics

But what is the answer? Just the sheer volume of so-called experts contradicting the last person and their piece of research – whether that’s marketers, the media, governments or various health, fitness and allied health professionals. These people need to take social responsibility for their claims and ensure it is for the good of their customers and followers, not just for profit-and-profile. 

Edutainment to change behaviour

Giving people the right information, showing them how to use it, involving them in the experience and making them feel like its not a chore is a great way to start changing behaviour. I like this Weight Watchers idea for these reasons (so long as its information is the truth) and hope that it provides a means to follow through, since changing behaviour isn’t a one-off visit – people need routine and ritual, lots of little everyday steps, to change behaviour and make the new behaviour part of their everyday life.  

Next pop up – Surry Hills?

Written by Rachel Bevans
Rachel is the healthy brand champion, owner and managing director for strategy and planning, of The Healthy Brand Company. 
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