Mississauga LeadsGTA with a Comprehensive Healthy Food and Beverage Policy

By March 12, 2020Events

March 11, 2020

Residents visiting community centres for a fitness class or going to an arena to watch their kids play hockey will now have healthier snack and drink options. The City is implementing a new Healthy Food and Beverage Policy for Recreation facilities starting September 1, 2020.

“Mississauga’s new healthy food and beverage policy is the strongest stance taken by any municipality in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA),” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie.  “We worked closely with Peel Public Health with a goal of providing better food and beverage offerings that are in line with the Region’s Nutrition Standards. With obesity and diabetes on the rise in our community, this is one way our City can be part of the solution. Health is at the centre of active, thriving and prosperous cities.”

The new policy applies to vending machines and concession stands in all recreation facilities including arenas, activity centres, community centres, golf courses, marinas, outdoor pools, recreation centres and C Cafe, located in the Civic Centre. The policy excludes banquet services, the Paramount Fine Foods Centre and the Living Arts Centre.

“Our new policy supports the City’s 2019 Future Directions Recreation Master Plan recommendation related to providing a wider range of healthy food offerings at recreation facilities,” said Shari Lichterman, Director of Recreation. “We are seeing a shift in consumer demands for more nutritious food and beverages and with our recreation facilities hosting more than 12 million visitors annually, this policy will have a significant impact in contributing to healthy living for our residents.”

Lichterman added, “There are a number of recreation facilities that are close to schools. Fifteen of 19 community centres, arenas or activity centres are within 500 metres of schools. Having a policy that is supportive of the Ministry of Education’s School Food and Beverage Policy is critical to promoting a healthy lifestyle for students.”

The policy will be implemented in two phases:

Phase 1 – Beginning September 1, 2020

  • Highly processed foods such as processed meats, prepackaged foods such as chocolate bars and deep-fried foods such as french fries will be eliminated immediately

Phase 2 – Beginning May 1, 2021

  • At least 75 per cent of beverages will be water and carbonated water, unsweetened milk and plant-based

Upcoming beverage and vending purchasing agreements will comply with these nutrition guidelines. They will also be used as an opportunity to address priorities in the City’s Climate Change Action Plan.  Specifically, vendors will be required to eliminate single-use plastics in their food and beverage packaging, in addition to other sustainability factors.

The City’s Healthy Food and Beverage Policy is set to go to Council for final approval on March 18.

In August 2019, City staff worked with Peel Public Health to complete nutritional assessments of vending and concession services at city recreation facilities. The results were compared with the Region’s Nutrition Standards which provided a baseline to measure future results. The assessment found beverage and food offerings needed to be improved to fully meet the Region’s nutrition standards. The City also reviewed other provinces and municipalities who have recently developed healthy food and beverage guidelines, action plans, strategies and policies.