Listening to customers: How that is growing the farm-to-hospital trend

By Bonni Kaplan DeWoskin, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships

Farm-to-hospital; it’s a growing trend. A couple of years ago I wrote about the (then) innovative idea of serving healthier food with wider choices at hospitals—a la hipster restaurants. I recently ran across yet another article about a hospital changing the food they serve and how they’ve listened to their “customers” who include their own employees.

“We take our staff’s feedback seriously,” said a chief operating officer about a hospital’s recent decision to open an on-premise micro market that is open 24-hours a day and offers healthy food choices. Hospitals are staffed 24/7 and the hospital wanted to ensure that their employees could benefit from the new healthier choices too.

Sure, marketing is about selling your product or service to attract new customers, but it should be more than that. It should be about listening to all of your stakeholders, including employees, meeting their needs and developing innovative ways to create a win-win situation.

This kind of internal approach to population health seems like a gimme, but those of us who have had some pretty terrible hospital food in the past know that it’s not.  Hospitals are recognizing the growing demand for a more diversified dining experience and meeting the meal preferences for patients and employees, whether gluten-free, kosher, vegetarian or vegan is important.

This isn’t a marketing gimmick. Instead, this movement is a way for organizations to genuinely improve the health of their employees, patients and communities. By innovating and offering a wider variety of healthier choices, everyone is not only healthier, they’re happier.

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