Our Methodology

To assess the progress of PHA partner commitments, we work with a team of external verifiers, including:

  • Altarum
  • Hudson Institute
  • Leading Health, LLC
  • Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Methodology - Industry Commitments

PepsiCo’s progress towards meeting commitments to reduce added sugars in its beverage portfolio and reduce saturated fat and sodium in its foods portfolio were reviewed by an independent verifier during a virtual meeting held with PepsiCo in October 2020. The verifier reviewed SKU-level data on beverages and foods sold in PepsiCo’s top 26 global beverage markets and top 23 global foods markets in 2019, as well as governance documents detailing the methodology used by PepsiCo to determine the total beverage and food volumes sold and nutritional information related to products sold, including definitions, assumptions, calculations, and rounding procedures. Product data and methods were reviewed for completeness against commitment guidelines agreed upon by PepsiCo and Partnership for a Healthier America, as well as publicly available information on PepsiCo products. Calculations were reviewed for accuracy and reproducibility using a random sample of beverage and food products from PepsiCo’s portfolio and publicly available data on nutrients in the selected products.

Methodology - Shaping Early Palates

KinderCare Education’s commitment to provide a company review of meal planning and ordering at centers and highlight new additional nutritious options or less commonly ordered items twice per year was assessed via review of 2020 announcements to centers highlighting new menus, new and modified menu items, and alternatives to sugary ingredients. KinderCare’s commitment to publishing a white paper on best practices for gardening was assessed through review of the published white paper. To document progress toward providing resources for families that encourage implementing healthy standards at home, verifiers reviewed four examples of information KinderCare Education provided to families that encouraged healthy habits at home.

To assess progress on Nurture Life and Good Feeding commitments, verifiers reviewed product ingredient lists and nutrition facts panels to ensure products available provided vegetable servings and limits on saturated fat, added sugars and salt. Parent education campaign materials, websites, videos, and social media posts were reviewed for accuracy and consistency with the Shaping Early Palates Initiative goals.

Methodology - Shifting Retail Environments

To assess progress towards Giant’s commitment to have 100% of its private label brands carry front-of-pack nutrition information, a verifier randomly selected 90 products from Giant’s private label brand list and requested front-of-pack label proofs for these items. Giant provided front-of-pack labels for 43 of the requested items. A verifier reviewed front-of-pack label proofs to determine how many products had labels that included calories, saturated fat, sodium, and total sugars.

Progress on commitments made by Kum & Go was determined by reviewing inventory reports, sales data and photos from stores to confirm that a minimum number of types of fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and low-fat dairy options were available with pricing that incentivized their purchase. Verifiers reviewed store planograms and spreadsheets of products’ nutritional information to ensure stores offered a minimum number of beverages that met PHA’s definition of a Healthier Beverage Product Criteria. Companies provided examples of store signage, marketing materials and web pages to illustrate how healthier foods and beverages were promoted in the store and through a customer loyalty program. Verifiers reviewed employee handbooks, policies, and employee communications to confirm commitment elements around wellness programming and healthy employee benefits. To measure progress on food and beverage distributors, S. Abraham and Sons, Harold Levinson Associates, and Harbor Wholesale Foods provided lists of all products that meet PHA’s healthier food and beverage product criteria, sell sheets and access to or screen shots of online ordering websites and online mobile ordering applications. Companies provided planograms and merchandizers, nutrition information and recipes for private label products and examples of marketing including promotional product materials, web pages, web banners and social media posts for verification. Verifiers also reviewed policies, memos, newsletters and promotional materials on employee health and wellness activities and each company’s healthier food catering guides.

Methodology - Healthy Hunger Relief

Healthy Hunger Relief partners did not report in 2020 due to COVID-19. Methodology - Healthy Campus Initiative Each post-secondary education institution participating in the Healthy Campus Initiative selected twenty-three elements across the following categories: food and nutrition, physical activity and movement, and wellness programming.

Methodology - Healthier Campus Initiative

For food and nutrition guidelines, independent verifiers reviewed two days, that were selected by the independent verifier, of breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus for each campus dining venue. Menus, which included nutrient information, allowed verifiers to ensure nutrient targets were met for calories, percent calories from saturated fat, grams of trans fat, and milligrams of sodium in wellness meals. Verifiers utilized production records, planograms, recipes, nutrition facts panels, product specifications, and additional photographs to determine whether campuses offered fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based food options and limited fried foods and desserts. Procurement records, sales records, and nutrition information were also reviewed and evaluated to verify healthy vending and beverage purchases. Campuses provided additional photographic evidence to verify their use of healthy icons and calorie labeling at the point of purchase. Policies were reviewed to determine the use of local procurement programs, tray-less dining initiatives, and merchandising programs to promote nutritious options. To verify availability of water in each dining, recreation, and educational facility, campuses provided an inventory of water fountains, bottle filling stations, and access points for filtered water in at least five percent of the campus buildings, selected by the verifier.

Physical activity elements were verified through campus maps, photographs, and policies outlining walking and biking infrastructure, access to public transportation, and recreation, physical activity, and competitive sports opportunities.

Wellness elements were verified by examining policy and program documentation to determine whether integrated, comprehensive wellness programming including breastfeeding support, strategies to reduce food insecurity, health insurance benefits, and access to hands-on nutrition education and cooking classes were provided.

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