What is REFORM?

REFORM is a research study that aims to examine the effectiveness of a tailored nutrition support program provided to the largest Australian and New Zealand-based food companies. The primary outcome is the healthiness of each company’s product portfolio. The study will also assess changes in company nutrition-related policies and practices.

Why is REFORM needed?

Improving the healthiness of food environments requires a comprehensive societal response, including government policies and wide-scale action from the food industry. The Australian and New Zealand Governments encourage food companies to support healthy food environments via voluntary initiatives and schemes, and some food companies have stated they are willing to act on nutrition. However, there is currently very limited support and expertise to guide companies in their nutrition policy development and implementation. 

How REFORM works

The study is a randomised controlled trial. Participating food companies (food and beverage manufacturers and quick-service restaurants) receive the intervention support program. We then assess if the program led these companies to have healthier products and improved nutrition policies, compared with food companies not offered the program.  

The nutrition support program involves meetings with participating food companies over a year-long program, delivering guidance, resources and referrals on various nutrition topics. The program is developed and delivered by public health experts from Deakin University (Australia) and the National Institute for Health Innovation (New Zealand).  

Through REFORM, the research team has developed a suite of resources to guide food companies on best practice nutrition practices.

Access these resources below (with more resources to come):

When is this happening?

The study began in July 2020, and the support program was delivered in 2021 to 2022. Researchers are now evaluating the success of REFORM by measuring its impact on  product healthiness and the nutrition policies of food companies, the program’s cost effectiveness, and understanding companies’ experiences of the program. Results are expected in 2024. 

The project team and funders

This study is coordinated jointly between investigators at the Global Centre for Preventive Health and Nutrition (GLOBE), Deakin University Institute for Health Transformation (IHT), and the National Institute for Health Innovation (NIHI), University of Auckland, New Zealand.

This project is funded by the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth), the Australian Government Department of Health, and the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

For more information about the REFORM project, please contact Prof. Gary Sacks gary.sacks@deakin.edu.au  or Prof. Cliona Ni Mhurchu c.nimhurchu@auckland.ac.nz 


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