On a mission for a healthier Australia

Coles has partnered with the Heart Foundation to improve the eating and lifestyle habits of Australians. The foundation’s chief marketer, Chris Taylor, explains why.

A portrait of Chris Taylor from the Heart Foundation

As the world grapples with COVID-19 the Heart Foundation is urging Australians to buy more fruit and vegetables, cook healthier meals and exercise on a daily basis.

Chris Taylor, the foundation’s chief marketing officer, says that disruptions to our day-to-day lives, such as working from home, mean that many Australians have adopted a number of unhealthy habits, such as snacking and relying on takeaway food.

“Let’s face it, your kitchen is not very far away from your office if you are working from home,” he says.

In a renewed effort to improve the eating and lifestyle habits of Australians the Heart Foundation and Coles have teamed up to create The Health Hub, which contains tips and information on healthy living, fitness advice and plenty of heart-friendly recipes.

“Now is the perfect time to communicate the message about healthy eating again. We know that daily habits are changing and not always for the best, with people eating more and eating the wrong foods,” he says.

“At the moment people are much more focussed on what they are eating than during normal times, so we want to give them information that they can use to make healthier choices – not just about fresh food, but other lifestyle choices such as exercise.”

Research conducted by Coles shows that 20 per cent of Australians are consuming more ‘drinks and nibbles’ during the pandemic and that more people, especially women, are using food as a reward to help them deal with the strain of COVID-19.

Mr Taylor says that the Heart Foundation is naturally concerned that people are taking more risks with their health and ignoring the ever-present threat of heart disease.

“Heart disease claims 48 Australian lives every day,” he says. “But there are a lot of manageable risk factors that can reduce your risk of contracting heart disease. And a healthy diet and exercise are two of the most important preventable risks.”

The partnership between Coles and the Heart Foundation aims to educate people about things such as diet and exercise, but just as importantly, provide consumers with more healthier meal options at a time when more of us are cooking.

“Evidence suggests that preaching to people does not work in terms of achieving changes to long-term behaviour,” he says. “What does work is giving people healthier choices.

“Coles has taken significant steps to expand its healthy offering with a focus on fresh food, eliminating artificial colours and flavours and introducing affordable healthy meal solutions. That is the sort of thing that makes a real difference.”

Having been working from home since March, and currently enduring another lock-down in Melbourne, Mr Taylor is acutely aware of the difficulties of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a global pandemic but urges people not to waiver.

“Our partnership with Coles is not just about healthy food and good nutrition but people’s overall health,” he says. “Our recommendation is that people spend at least 60 minutes of exercise to help their hearts – and given the current restrictions around COVID-19 getting out of the house to exercise is something we can all look forward to.”

See more stories, including healthy recipes, tips and information, at the Coles Health Hub.

*This data was published in a Customer Perspective On Health report (March 18, 2020), drawing on a Coles Circle conversation in which customers were asked a series of questions about wellbeing and how they intended to improve their health in the coming months.

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