Making the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice


Notes From the Road: BMW Manufacturing

APRIL 30, 2013

BMW SpartanburgBMW’s current focus is primarily on improving the food environment to support employee health and nutrition. They recently changed cafeteria vendors in order to meet their goals to improve nutrition in the cafeteria and vending machines. We discussed including certain wellness requirements in the contract up front to hold the new vendor accountable for providing delicious, affordable, and healthy foods. Among these requirements include requiring that healthy options are available in the cafeteria and vending during all hours of operation, placing healthy options in a prominent location, labeling healthy options with a recognizable icon and corresponding nutritional information, and pricing healthy options more favorable than unhealthy options. To promote the new cafeteria vendor and introduce employees to some of the new wellness options, we discussed offering a healthy recipe tasting in conjunction with the grand opening. We also recommended partnering with local farmers to provide employees with opportunities to purchase fresh, locally grown produce such as an onsite farmer’s market or community supported agriculture program.

Lastly, physical activity is an upcoming priority for BMW during 2013, as they have been tasked by senior management to develop a physical activity solution for 2014. Currently, BMW offers their employees a discount for local gym memberships. For the past two years, they have also hosted an annual “walk at work” day, an opportunity for employees to walk along an established and mapped-out path with a group of co-workers before or after shift, or during lunch. In addition to these two initiatives, we discussed a few ideas to provide employees with more opportunities for and access to physical activity during the work day. First, Camille proposed the idea of converting the outdoor designated smoking areas to physical activity stations stocked with weather-resistant outdoor fitness equipment. This is an extremely innovative and resourceful idea! We also discussed establishing and mapping out a permanent walking trail for employees to use before or after shift, or during their lunch break. Because of the complex shift model at BMW, allowing employees to exercise on paid time is not an option. However, we did suggest encouraging that employees use paid breaks for physical activity, encouraging walking meetings, and promoting various stretches and desk exercises to both line workers and desk workers every day.

Read about BMW’s comprehensive quit tobacco program.