We are proud to have reached a new milestone for our Healthy for Life initiative.
Our CEO, John Zillmer, was honored to accept the American Heart Association’s Award of Meritorious Achievement at the virtual National Volunteer Awards ceremony. This award is one of the organization’s highest honors, bestowed annually by the American Heart Association’s Board of Directors, which is presented for a specific accomplishment or project that supports their national initiatives. This is one of the few times the award has been given to a company rather than a health care professional, researcher, or scientist.
Specifically, the award honors the positive impact we have made to improve the health of consumers, communities, and employees through the Healthy for Life® initiative, our ambitious and innovative work with the American Heart Association.
It’s not every day that a global company and large nonprofit work together in the name of public health—but that was exactly the intent of Healthy for Life.
Here’s a look at what makes the Healthy for Life model so innovative and effective.
Ingredients for Impact
We launched Healthy for Life more than a decade ago, then began working with with the American Heart Association in 2015 to take the national program to the next level. We sought to leverage our combined reach and resources to help millions lead healthier lives. That meant working together differently.
Healthy for Life was designed as a comprehensive, multifaceted effort to impact public health through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Looking back, we attribute our success to several unique elements of the health impact model.
- An Innovative Approach. Both organizations were focused on creating a culture of health at the individual, community and national levels through healthy menu commitments as well as innovation in the areas of consumer, community and employee health.
- Clear Goals. Not only did we focus on our industry-leading healthy menu impact goals and the development of hundreds of new plant-forward recipes, but we also committed to reaching millions of consumers, and devised a specific strategy to engage hundreds of communities through the development of a scalable community health initiative.
- Deep Collaboration. Our company employs more than 700 dietitians and over 1,000 chefs—not to mention experts in supply chain management, marketing, operations, and other business functions. Meanwhile, the American Heart Association contributed the scientific and medical expertise to ensure our programs were evidence-based. We leaned on this collective know-how for the strongest possible foundation.
- Long Term Impact. Just as healthy habits don’t form overnight, it takes time for public health initiatives to come to fruition. For this reason, we think of Healthy for Life as an ongoing, evolving, long-term collaboration.
- Data-Driven Decisions. Results are meant to be measured. For instance, every Healthy for Life community educational experience goes through an evaluation and feedback process so we can assess behavioral impact and make continuous improvements.
“Healthy for Life is so powerful because two large organizations, each of us leaders in our respective spaces, found a way to come together,” states Jami Leveen, Vice President of Community Partnerships. “The sum is definitely greater than its parts.”
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The Commitment Continues
We knew we could make a difference through industry-leading healthy menus, consumer engagement programs, employee wellness initiatives, and community outreach and education. It was an ambitious approach from the beginning—a new model focused on comprehensively and simultaneously delivering innovative menu, consumer, community, and employee health impact initiatives. But the dedication of the Aramark and American Heart Association teams working so closely together has shown that bold approaches can deliver industry-leading results.
Our commitment continues as we build on this momentum. “What’s so unique about Healthy for Life is that we have fostered this collaboration with the American Heart Association across a sustained period of time, across multiple health impact areas,” says Dan Wainfan, Vice President of Health, Wellness and Nutrition. “The most rewarding aspect of the work is that we are inspiring people to take an active role in making healthy lifestyle decisions.”
Healthy For Life is an important part of Aramark’s commitment to creating positive impact on people and planet and the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force to create longer, healthier lives. Together we are inspiring millions to lead healthier lives.