Google’s ability to affect almost every business reaches beyond all of us frantically trying to outwit the mysterious algorithms to score higher on their results page.
The company also experiments a lot. This includes their cafeteria.
In this case, they’re trying to see if they can encourage healthy eating, while also making free food available 24/7. It makes some employees fat, but people (read: brainy engineers) who are eating healthy for the first time in their lives lose weight.
To make it easy for these people to eat healthy, Google cafeteria-runners put the better-for-you stuff at eye level, use smaller plates, force vegetables as part of everything, and other basic concepts. They also use a “red = dont-eat-these-hardly-ever, green = eat-all-you-want” sort of system (my words, not theirs).
But the part I like best is this:
The only place on the campus where employees pay for food is from a vending machine. The pricing strategy is based on nutrient content, again according to the Harvard pyramid plan. For the vended products, you pay:
- one cent per gram of sugar
- two cents per gram of fat
- four cents per gram of saturated fat
- one dollar per gram of trans fat
On this basis, Quaker Chewy Bars are 15 cents each, Famous Amos cookies are 55 cents, and an enormous Ghirardelli chocolate bar is $4.25. Weights don’t count and neither do calories.
It doesn’t seem like something most restaurants or food services are going to adopt any time soon, but Google does have a way of changing the world.