The Go Giant program
There’s a new program at General Mills to encourage employees to eat healthy – and a real giant in the company is leading the way.
Starting today, employees at our U.S. locations can sign up for Go Giant, a healthy eating incentive program that asks employees to set a goal of eating up to five cups of fruits and vegetables a day for five weeks.
Priscilla Zee, associate marketing manager for Green Giant, talks about the program in this video clip.
Priscilla says the motivation behind Go Giant is to reinforce healthy eating habits and change daily choices for meals and snacks.
The idea came from the Green Giant team about a year ago, who submitted it as a project in an annual internal marketing innovation competition we call “Big Bold Experiments.”
“We know that despite good intentions, 94 percent of consumers don’t get their recommended daily allowance of vegetables,” says John Stockman, marketing associate director, Green Giant. “More than 70 percent of consumers know that, and wish they had more fruits and vegetables in their diet.”
John says the team looked for inspiration for Go Giant from other employee wellness campaigns or insurance company incentives that have changed behaviors, like discounted gym memberships or insurance for being physically active.
“While these programs existed, we learned most were not successful at changing behaviors and had low awareness where they were in place. That became the sweet spot where we thought we could help,” says John.
“What we bring to the table with Go Giant, as it launches within General Mills and possibly at other companies in the future, is some brand recognition and excitement with a fun opportunity and ability to track healthy eating activity,” says Priscilla.
Green Giant partnered with our Global Health department to get their expertise in employee wellness to put the program together, and also consulted health and wellness companies that work with insurance providers.
It builds on the three yearly wellness incentives Global Health already oversees: a health assessment, a physical activity pledge and a healthy eating incentive. Employees make their annual commitment to those incentives during benefits enrollment. (General Mills also has had a “5 a Day” program for employees in the UK).
“We are excited to work with Green Giant on this program, given that their brand provides more than 1 billion full servings of vegetables to U.S. consumers each year,” says Dr. Julia Halberg, vice president, Global Health and General Mills’ chief medical officer. “Our focus on nutrition and health with our employees is reinforced by the nature of many of the products they work on.”
If the program takes off this month at General Mills, Green Giant could launch it at other corporations.
So how does Go Giant work?
The program will provide employees a weekly challenge. If participants track their consumption of fruits and vegetables each day and complete all five weekly challenges, they will receive a Fitbit Flex Activity Tracker. Tracking can be done on their desktop, phone or tablet.
Challenges include swaps of a fruit or veggie for a less desirable option, “veggifying” a meal by creatively adding fruits and veggies to favorite dishes, trying a new fruit or veggie, recruiting someone to eat healthy with them, and eating different colors of fruits and veggies.
There’s also a social media component, as employees can choose to post photos of their food choices to their social accounts. You’ll see that if you follow the #GoGiant hashtag.
Go Giant also encourages friendly competition across our various divisions and business units in the U.S., as employees will be able to see their daily averages and leaderboards with rankings comparing them to their colleagues.
“Eating vegetables often is a ‘should’ not a ‘want,’ a have-to not a get-to,” says Priscilla. “So with Go Giant we really want to make eating vegetables and fruits fun and easy, and give people the tools to do that and help them incorporate that into their behavior. Yes, we want employees to get their five cups of fruits and vegetables a day, but we really want them to track and build their healthy eating habits over time.”
Employees can begin signing up today at GoGiant.GeneralMills.com. The program kicks off Jan. 20.
And who knows, if we make it work it may come to your workplace next.