Awarding good food in aged care.

You may remember Kate’s post last month on the ‘Unacceptable food served in residential aged care in Australia in 2011’ Facebook group which quickly gained over 100 ‘likes’ in one hour after it was referenced in a Herald Sun article. With food such an important aspect of aged care, Operational Support and Consultancy, Auditing and Recruitment (OSCAR) have introduced a new award initiative called the OSCAR Awards for Aged Care and Hospitality to improve new standards of food and food service in aged care.

Most press coverage regarding food and aged care is bad coverage. So why is it that aged care providers are not getting their stories out there about how good the food is? Many aged care providers cook their food from fresh ingredients, complying with both nutritional guidelines and also providing residents with tasty home-cooked meals.

Aged care providers obviously think they are doing a good job, which is highlighted by the large number of award nominations received for the OSCAR Awards. According to the Australian Ageing Agenda, over 30 nominations have been received in the following categories:

  • Chef Manager of the Year
  • Chef/Cook of the Year
  • Food Service Assistant of the Year
  • Catering Innovation of the Year
  • Facility Catering Service of the Year

I guess the simple truth is, there is nothing ‘news-worthy’ about providing good food to residents – it is expected. Someone speaking out about bad food is.

The OSCAR awards do provide an interesting setting for highlighting the good food that is being provided to aged care residents in Victoria, however, have not yet been covered in main-stream press. Once winners are announced, the aged care providers have an opportunity to share this news with both local and state media and then add any award-winning emblems to all marketing materials.

If the Productivity Commission’s Caring for Older Australian’s draft report is anything to go by, differentiating facilities against competitors is going to become increasingly more important to ensure providers remain competitive and fill beds. The final report is expected to be released on Monday, 8 August 2011.

Ellis Jones specialises in developing creative and effective marketing and communications campaigns for the health and ageing sector.

Get in touch to find out more about Ellis Jones’ approach to health and aged care marketing.

Image credit : Christian