Teams across UNSW Sydney collaborate to create a high-quality food environment

11 Apr 2022
The Good Food Project

An exciting new initiative is underway across the University to improve the way we eat on campus.

The Good Food Project is a collaboration between the student Health Promotions Unit, Estate Management, The George Institute for Global Health, UNSW Wellbeing, Arc Student Life and UNSW Medicine and Health. Having received support from the University’s Management Board, the project is working towards changes in the food environment across UNSW Sydney campuses.

The Good Food Project aims to ensure the healthy choice is the easy choice, with a focus on affordability and food diversity. What we eat has a significant impact on our physical and mental health, and as a learning institution the wellbeing of students and staff is paramount.

In December 2021 an information session was held with UNSW retailers, and over the coming months the project team will work with these retailers to support them in making changes to their food offering.

The project will see changes starting in the first half of 2022. By mid 2022, ‘everyday foods’ (such as cereals and grains, lean meats, vegetables and fruit) will be more prominently displayed in retail outlets. Sugary drinks will still be available, but out of sight on lower shelves. Promotional activities will be focused on everyday foods.

By the end of 2022, at least half of the foods for sale will be everyday foods, and each retailer will aim to have at least one ‘value meal’ in the $5 - 10 price range, comprised of everyday foods.

The Good Food Project is also working closely with UNSW Sustainability. UNSW Sustainability has been enormously successful with its Plastic Free Dining project, offering gold, silver and bronze award stickers to indicate their level of achievement. A similar system will be in place for the Good Food Project, with retailers able to proudly display their awards.

An additional part of the project is ongoing education. As part of Mental Health March, Felice Jacka, renowned researcher on the role food has on our mood, was joined by The George Institute’s Jason Wu to discuss the latest research around the microbiome, its impact on our mental health and how the food environment influences our food choices. If you missed this talk you can watch it here on Facebook.

Students also took on the challenge of the Good Food Experiment, with UNSW Health and Wellbeing Ambassadors partnering with Thoughtful Foods to develop some fantastic recipes from an organic food box. Check out some of their recipes on Instagram.

We will continue to provide updates on the progress of the Good Food Project at UNSW and which retailers you should check out for their impressive new menus. In the meantime, look out for the changes when you go to your favourite on-campus eatery!