What is Google's strategy to improve employee eating habits through a free employee canteen?

Google is famous as a company that provides high quality food at free employee cafeterias, but in the past few years it has been working on the difficult task of 'letting employees eat vegetables'. Google's strategy to improve employee diet using experiments, data, and human perception has been published as potentially available to other companies and organizations.

Inside Google's Efforts to Engineer Its Food for Healthiness | OneZero


Many people realize the difficulty of having a healthy diet. This can be said not only at the individual level but also at the national level, as promoted by the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention `` Eat at least 5 types of vegetables and fruits a day '' `` 5 A DAY 'it is entirely fail, adults are eating the recommended amount of vegetables at the time of the 2017 year to be only 9% has been shown . As a result, one in three adults and one in five children are obese in the United States, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Unhealthy eating has become a social problem and the diet industry has generated $ 66 billion annually.

Meanwhile, Google has improved people's eating habits in recent years.

Google has a canteen that can be used for free ... a famous story. Originally Google's free cafeteria was not intended for the health of employees, but founder Larry Page says `` Casual Collisions '', a new idea by having light conversations between employees. It was positioned as a place to be born.

Through this canteen, Google has done a number of experiments over the past few years to help employees live a healthy diet.

As a result, for example, Google's New York office now offers 2,300 daily salads for breakfast, which were never served two years ago, and 85% more seafood than 2017-2018 up. Soft drink consumption was flat, but water consumption increased significantly.

Google's success lies in its strategy around data and human perception. For example, a standard canteen dish is 12 inches (about 30 cm) in diameter, but the dish used by Google is as small as 10 inches (about 25 cm). Vegetables are the first to be spotted on the food lane, and it takes a lot of time to reach meat and desserts, at which time the plates run out of space. 'Spa water' with strawberries, lemons, cucumbers, etc. is intentionally placed so that it is easier to take than soft drinks, and the size of

burritos is about 60% of the general size.

This Google 'canteen reform' was started by

Michael Backer, who has been active internationally as a food expert. Mr. Bakker, who received a request from Google in 2012, first worked on designing such as changing lighting and installing an open kitchen to make 'accidental collision' comfortable. After that, I started embarking on a topic that was causing controversy in the United States, 'How can I eat a healthier diet?'

Mr. Backer said that the young generation in the United States grew up without the habit of `` family meal '', so even if you want to eat a healthy diet, you do not know `` what is a healthy diet '' Are listed. Mr. Bakker found that it was important to 'help people make better choices'.

Mr. Backer went to meet researchers who would improve the taste of healthy food, but ultimately concluded that efforts in this direction were hopeless. No matter how whole grains are healthy, putting a hamburger next to it will cause the human brain to choose a hamburger.

From here, an attempt to change the “environment where food is placed” started. For example, it takes 40 seconds to put coffee in the Google office, but fruits and cookies are placed in a break room called Google's `` micro kitchen '', and during this 40 seconds employees are confectionery It is possible to pick up. According to a survey (PDF file) , people with a high cognitive load are more likely to choose unhealthy snacks than healthy fruits when they are hungry.

With the above findings in mind, Mr. Backer conducted an experiment to 'snack snacks away from coffee makers.' Until then, the distance from the coffee maker to the snack was about 2 meters, but when it was separated to about 5 meters, the probability of picking up snacks decreased by 23% for men and 17% for women.

In response to the survey, Google rebuilt 1450 microkitchens. Unhealthy snacks were mostly limited to

M & M's and gummy and were placed in opaque drawers, remote from the coffee maker. And now, near the coffee maker, only a bowl with fresh fruit has been placed.

Backer and colleagues apply a similar theory to soft drinks, making only the lower half of the refrigerator door opaque, leaving employees with only water, flavored water, carrot sticks, and yogurt. So devised. Of course, employees know that there is soft drink behind the opaque glass, but reducing the temptation by making it invisible. An important part of these efforts is that employees have a choice. 'We are not talking about anything. There is no provision for 'eat carrots.'' 'We deeply believe in freedom of choice,' said Bakker.

Food research at Google also involves Ravi Dar, a professor at Yale University and director of the Center for Customer Insights. According to Mr. Dahl, in light of the human decision-making process, in order to achieve the goal of 'eat more vegetables', the first thing people see in the canteen is salads. Hungry people tend to pick up what they see first. However, this alone is not enough, and it seems necessary to give vegetables 'persuasive power' that people pick up vegetables.

Many employees stopped by a salad bar when they held an Indian food fair at a Google employee cafeteria in the summer of 2019. The Indian food fair was vegetarian-conscious, the cafeteria was filled with ingredients such as cauliflower, tomatoes and cheese, and the meat was only a little lamb. However, dishes such as okra coconut curry were spicy and appetizing, and many employees filled their dishes with vegetarian food before reaching lamb. Although this was an 'unscientific' experiment, it did offer a lesson that vegetables must taste good. After all, in order for people to take action and acquire good behavior, it is important to make sure that the person can enjoy it, regardless of logical reasoning.

Based on the above lessons, Google has begun an initiative to improve the taste of vegetable dishes. However, unlike meat, it takes a lot of labor to peel, chop, stew and puree vegetables to make them delicious. The challenge was challenging, and in 2018, Bakker turned to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for cooking. Google has created a vegetable-based cooking curriculum with Mark Erickson, a CIA cook.

On the other hand, there is also the problem that it is very difficult to scientifically support a 'healthy diet' even if it is simply called 'healthy diet'. Much of the scientific research done to date has been small and has been linked to specific health issues. Nutrition research also relies heavily on subject reports and lacks reliability. For decades, red meat has been claimed to be unhealthy, but eventually in 2019, an international research team stated, `` Reducing the amount of red meat consumed has greatly reduced the rate of cancer mortality. and in small ' it was announced . But in response, Dr. Giota Mitrou, Head of Research at the World Cancer Research Fund, said, 'Eating as much red meat and processed meat as you like does not increase your risk of cancer.' Could put people at risk, 'said a negative comment.

The strength of Google's approach taken in that context is that it is based on the premise that there is no single, all-around solution to the food problem. Google created a place for experimentation through meals served to more than 195,000 people several times a day, five days a week. Through repeated experiments and lessons learned, he created an American version of the Blue Zone in-house.

Google has not been engaged in diet reform alone, but with companies, so other companies, academic institutions, hospitals, etc. can follow Google. There are actually organizations that have already adopted Google's strategy. Since the 'free employee cafeteria' started by Google has spread widely in Silicon Valley, it is highly likely that Google's cafeteria reform will be a new model for companies.

in Junk Food, Posted by logq_fa