The Google Campus: making unhealthiness expensive

Screen shot 2011-07-14 at 11.34.57 AM

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.

  • Justin James Aviles

    The country needs to catch up in this style of thinking. too bad its not about the health of a nation but the width of their wallets

  • Ferris Thomas

    By this formula a Big Mac would run $2.07 and a Double Quarter Pounder w/Cheese would be $4.22.

  • Ruff Davidson

    Hi, self-righteous people. I thought I would stop bye, but I was never here after reading some of the condescending replies. Think I’ll skip on out now.

  • Chachi Slapsmeat

    You’re wrong. Also, calm the fuck down.

  • izziebot

    It’s gonna be ok, dude. 

  • Nigel Humphries

    Trans fats do not occur in nature. They are in no way good for you.

  • George

    The insulting nature of your lack of intelligence is only outdone by your insulting use of labels.

  • David Felton

    Since when? Is my hamburger not a part of nature now?
    Did there suddenly occur pieces of reality that are outside of..reality?
    This is the kind of stupidity I’m talking about.
    Even if they were artificially created by humans they are still NATURAL BY VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT WE, NATURAL BEINGS, CREATED THEM.

    “A type of trans fat occurs naturally in the milk and body fat of ruminants (such as cattle and sheep) at a level of 2–5% of total fat.[41] Natural trans fats, which include conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vaccenic acid, originate in the rumen of these animals. CLA has two double bonds, one in the cis configuration and one in trans, which makes it simultaneously a cis- and a trans-fatty acid.”

  • David Felton

    Yeah, when every one’s poisoned themselves until they die because they’re too stupid to have a scientific understanding of ANYTHING that isn’t influenced and determined by the “experts” who are just highly paid propaganda machines.

  • David Felton

    “You’re wrong.” How about you cite a source or argue why instead of childishly replying: “No.”.

  • BabsonTask

    That’s right – aircraft carriers are part of nature because we made them… Hilarious. Don’t skip your meds.