Popular nutrition website MyFitnessPal.com has an expanding following in onsite foodservice. The website, which allows consumers to track their food intake and physical activity in real time on their smartphones, tablets and computers, has deals in place with all three of the major contract companies. This allows patrons at dining outlets managed by Sodexo, Aramark and the various units of Compass Group to easily log their food and beverage purchases with accurate nutritional data.
Each company has submitted thousands of its recipes to the MyFitnessPal database, which contains more than two million foods in all. More than 30 million people have downloaded the free MyFitnessPal app, which runs on Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry, Kindle and Windows platforms.
Using MyFitnessPal, a consumer can go to a participating’ café site, make a meal choice, enter that choice on a smartphone and have it automatically register all the pertinent nutritional information from the meal, adding it to the day’s total. This allows consumers to manage their individual wellness choices in a customized fashion. The website also has a community feature that offers support and motivation from other users, as well as discussion forums and tips.
Self-Op Goes One Better
Large contract companies aren’t the only onsite dining entities utilizing the popularity of MyFitnessPal to help customers track their wellness choices. The University of California-San Francisco Medical Center has logged some 150 of its recipes with the website, but takes the process a step further. Rather than have customers find the particular recipe in the program, UCSFMC has a feature that allows a smartphone camera to scan a barcode on an item and that automatically logs it. UCSFMC has been putting bar codes on its café offerings for several years in order to facilitate checkout, trigger promotions and encourage wellness.
Another unique feature of the UCSFMC’s Smart Choice program is an arrangement with Fitbit, a wearable activity tracker/monitor. The hospital has integrated Fitbit data, which uploads automatically to a smartphone or computer via Bluetooth, with MyFitnessPal food intake data to give users a comprehensive running total of caloric intake and expenditure without having to manually enter the physical activity.