Kelowna's Concessions Make it Easy to Make the Healthy Choice

When it comes to healthy eating, education and accessibility to healthy options are critical. The City of Kelowna took action to make nutritious options the easy choice by raising awareness, improving concession stands, and ensuring vending services offer good food in City owned facilities.

In 2006, the cross-governmental program ActNow BC was implemented to prevent chronic disease and risk factors across the province. To align with the goals of ActNow BC, the City of Kelowna and Regional District of Central Okanagan devised the KickStart Initiative. As part of KickStart, the City of Kelowna and the Interior Health Authority (IHA) collaborated to support healthy food and beverage choices in food concessions throughout Kelowna. Recommendations led to the development of the Healthy Food and Beverage Sales Implementation Plan in 2008. Since implementing the Plan, numerous improvements to Kelowna’s concessions and vending have been completed, with more renovations to City-owned concessions underway.

Partnerships  & Stakeholders


Summary of the Process

To secure funding for the Plan, grants were obtained from the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) and BC Recreations and Parks Association (BCRPA), while the City and Pepsi (with the Cold Beverage Agreement) also provided funding. Six priorities were established to fulfill this five-year Healthy Food and Beverage Sales Plan and to help facilities offer healthier food and beverage choices:

  1. Implementation of the awareness program
  2. Assessments of upgrades to current concession outlets
  3. Current concession operations
  4. Vending Machines
  5. Cold beverage agreement with Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.
  6. Concessions in City leased facilities

The Plan targets concessions and vending in city-owned facilities. The City identified ten city-owned recreational facilities to which they would provide support, including assistance in applying the guidelines and renovating the facilities to align with the vision of the Plan.

Program Guidelines

Choose Most Choose Sometimes Choose Least Not Recommended
These items, including whole grain breads and fresh vegetables tend to be the highest in nutrients, the lowest in unhealthy components, and the least processed. These items, including such things as fruit canned in light syrup, represent choices that are moderately salted, sweetened, or processed. These items, including such things as fries, tend to be low in key nutrients such as iron and calcium and highly salted, sweetened, or processed. These items, including candies and drinks where sugar is the first ingredient, or the second ingredient after water, tend to be extensively processed, or contain a  disproportionate amount of salt, fat, trans fat, sweeteners, or calories relative to the nutritional value.

The overarching goal is to ensure that 50% of vending and concession beverage choices derive from the Choose Most and Sometimes categories, and the remaining 50% from the Choose Least and Not Recommended categories. For food choices, 70% of options need to align with the first two categories, and no more than 15% of food options can be in the Not Recommended category.

Before applying guidelines and renovations, a comprehensive needs assessment was conducted with each concession operator. A consultant met individually with the concession site operator to discuss their needs and address their concerns. For example, one of the main concerns of concessionaires was that the City did not want fried French fries to be served, but this item was incredibly popular. To meet halfway, concession deep fryers were removed and replaced with ovens so healthier oven-baked fries could be sold instead. Today, meetings and periodic check-ins help the current program manager address the concerns of concessionaires.

Key Outcomes and Impact

  • City Council passed a resolution requiring all high volume city run concessions to begin the process of removing deep fryers. One concession is completely renovated annually. In the past, this has included replacing deep fryers with a stove and oven, installing a prep table, rewiring the electrical, and painting the facility.
  • New concessions are required to meet the standards of the Healthy Food and Beverage Sales policy and meet with the program manager to uphold the City policy.
  • At first, some concessionaires were reluctant to participate, but the City has allocated funding for renovations and kept in constant communication to address concessionaires’ needs and concerns.

Key to Success

“Success is all about communicating; the more people we talk to, the better it goes… communicate early, communicate often, stress the why, why, why as much as the what… inform people as early as possible about everything you’re doing. Work through things slowly and steadily, with lots of communication.” ~ Linda Abbott-Simons, Healthy Food and Beverage Coordinator

Quote retrieved from:

For more information, please contact:

Steve Tarlit
Community Recreation Coordinator
Active Living & Culture
T: 250-469-8827

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