What is the Brand Name List?
The Brand Name Food List (the List) is a tool that helps British Columbians choose food and beverages that meet the nutrition standards set for schools and public buildings. The List scores food and beverages based on the Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools (the Guidelines) and the Nutritional Guidelines for Vending Machines in B.C. Public Buildings.
The list is meant for ready-to-eat food and beverages that come with nutrition labelling information and require minimal, if any, preparation (such as reheating or adding water). Prepackaged food and beverages are scored using the nutrition information on the food label. In order for freshly made food or beverages to be eligible for posting to the Brand Name Food List the following conditions must be met:
- The food service operator must use standardized recipes (detailed recipes that have been tested many times and produce consistent results).
- A nutrient analysis must be completed by either a Registered Dietitian or a company specializing in nutrient analysis.
- Product information must be provided in a format that meets Canadian food labelling requirements.
Each item on the List is rated into one of three ‘Sell categories’: Sell Most, Sell Sometimes and Do Not Sell. You can search the List for a specific item, sort the List, and submit new items to be added to the List.
Freshly made food and beverages without nutrition labelling information are scored using the Checklist tool contained within the Guidelines.
Goals of the Brand Name List
The Brand Name Food List makes it easier to create a healthy food environment in BC schools and Public Buildings. Did you know that the package size affects how much you eat or drink? Or that when a food is near you that you eat more of it – whether it’s jelly beans or carrot sticks? If we surround ourselves with Sell Most and Sell Sometimes choices we’ll all eat better!
Healthy eating emphasizes fresh and minimally processed food. When prepackaged foods are used, the List makes it easier to create a healthy food environment by helping you identify the Sell Most and Sell Sometimes options. For more about healthy eating, check out ‘Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide’, the food and activity tracker available from Dietitians of Canada, or British Columbians can call Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for family, school, and workplace tips for healthy eating.
Switching to healthier food is a great start. Partner eating well with increasing your physical activity and you are on the path to better health.
Check our HealthLinkBC or HealthyFamiliesBC websites for ideas.
Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools
You can review the detailed nutrition criteria for BC Schools by reading the "Guidelines for Food and Beverage Sales in BC Schools" document (also available in French). Note: These guidelines are not intended to address food allergy concerns in schools.
The Guidelines apply to any food or drinks that are sold to students at any school-related event. This includes items sold at school through vending machines, school stores, cafeterias, parent-organized lunch sales, team games, and curriculum projects like food sales for a marketing class or home-ec class. It also includes things sold at school events held off-campus (like track meets or field trips), and school-organized fundraising events that students attend (like fun fairs or bake-sales).
The Guidelines are tough on high fat, high sodium (salt), high sugar, high caffeine, and high calorie food products (elementary and middle schools also have to limit sugar subtitutes).
You’ll also find some great fact sheets on the For Schools and Communities page of HealthLinkBC's website. And check out BC’s Healthy Schools Network newsletters for success stories and creative solutions to making healthy choices fun and easy!
Nutritional Guidelines for Vending Machines in B.C. Public Buildings
The B.C. public buildings nutrition guidelines are available here. These guidelines apply to provincially funded buildings like hospitals and Ministry and Health Authority offices and facilities. And while specific to vending machines, you may also choose to apply the guidelines to your snackeries and cafeterias as well.
Recreation centres, pools and rinks, municipal buildings (like City Halls and libraries), concession stands at beaches, parks and stadiums, and private businesses such as shopping malls are also encouraged to use these guidelines.
Just like the school guidelines, the public building guidelines require that at least half the items offered are Sell Most, and the rest are Sell Sometimes. The public building guidelines are just as tough as schools on high fat, high sodium (salt), high sugar, and high calorie foods. However, they do not restrict caffeine or sugar substitutes.
This brand name tool is excellent. Worth it's weight in gold. It made it so easy to select the products. It will be great to get the check mark label for the machines to educate users.
- Donna Vines, City of Richmond
The piece that has made all the difference is the Brand Name Food List.
- Geoff Burns, Vice Principal, Trafalgar Middle School, Nelson
The Brand Name Food List made it so much easier to find healthier products for the vending machines and the school store.
- Trevor Randle, Chef Instructor, Maple Ridge Secondary